From WNBA MVP to Team USA star

Minnesota's Maya Moore hasn't put her 2014 WNBA season into context just yet, but she will. She'll review the notes that she jots down after games, take stock of what consistently went right and what still needs work.

She'll appreciate winning the league's MVP award and the scoring title. She'll be proud that the Lynx forced a Game 3 in the Western Conference finals, even if that didn't end the way she wanted.

Yes, she'll do all that because part of Moore's mentality is finding room to be grateful for good things that happen. But she doesn't quite have time to do all that just yet.

"Country calls," Moore said with a little smile after the Lynx's season ended in Phoenix. "Quick turnaround -- put some closure to this season, pack up our lives in Minnesota, and then head to the East Coast."

Moore joined the U.S. national team, which is preparing for the FIBA World Championship later this month in Turkey. The Americans opened training camp at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, last Monday. They played an intrasquad exhibition game in Newark, Delaware, on Thursday, and play Canada in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on Monday (ESPN2, 7 p.m. ET) before going to Europe for four more exhibitions.

The world championship -- the Americans open with pool play against China, Serbia and Angola -- is Sept. 27-Oct. 5.

Moore will have Lynx company with her on this next quest for a gold medal. Teammates Lindsay Whalen and Seimone Augustus are also returning Olympians expected to make the U.S. squad. And Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is an assistant to Team USA head coach Geno Auriemma.

Before training camp opened, Reeve and the Lynx staff did player exit interviews, which she says is typically one of the most taxing days of the year. Of course, Moore's interview was pretty easy.

Reeve reminded her star forward about the beginning of Lynx training camp last spring, when Moore was the only top veteran there at first.

"Other than her, it was mostly a bunch of new players," Reeve said. "Maya didn't complain or big-time anybody. She just embraces the idea that she is very prideful of the Lynx way of doing things, and she was at the forefront of leading this team.

"I thought that was a microcosm of what our season was about to be. Maya continually had to pull us forward because of all the things we were going through. And it was the way that she did it -- not just 20 points here and there, but in the hardest part of the season, she was getting 30 points on people and playing so many minutes a game."

Injuries to fellow starters Augustus and Rebekkah Brunson put more of a load on Moore, but she responded well to that. Moore averaged 23.9 points and 8.1 rebounds in the regular season, both career highs for the fourth-year pro. She had a career-best 48 points on July 22.

During the playoffs, Moore averaged 19.8 points and 6.0 rebounds. She had one subpar outing, scoring just nine points in the Western Conference finals Game 1 loss at Phoenix.

Reeve's takeaway from this season is that Moore became a player who didn't just take advantage of her openings. She was so good, and so reliable, that Minnesota continually looked to run sets for her. She had to read and react more than she'd ever done before, and she proved to be very good at that.

"She became somebody we could count on all the time on both sides of the ball," Reeve said. "Before, she was more someone we could count on to shoot well when she was open and maybe post up a little. But she just evolved into somebody that we ran multiple plays for. She always seems to find a way to get things done."

Reeve also gave kudos to point guard Whalen, who was the Lynx's most consistent player throughout the postseason. But in the fourth quarter of the deciding Game 3 of the West finals, Phoenix finally took over and closed out the Lynx.

Reeve credited Phoenix for that, but also thought Moore and Whalen were "the wall that held the water for so long. The dam finally broke. These players had worked so hard this season."

Now both -- along with Augustus -- are in camp to play for Auriemma, who of course was Moore's college coach at UConn.

"It's fun, and I appreciate him more, I think," Moore said of interacting as a veteran pro with Auriemma. "We can talk about different things now that I have a few more experiences under my belt in basketball and in life. I want to enjoy being around him and the staff that we have. I want to help him enjoy himself and coaching us.

"And having Cheryl being an assistant, it pretty much blows my cover of my secret to success: I've had great coaches."

But her coaches certainly would give the credit back to Moore. She got even more fit coming into this season, which was crucial in allowing her to average nearly 35 minutes a game. Moore has never missed a game in her Lynx career.

Reeve also added that Moore continues to make substantial progress in an area that will help her be even more dangerous offensively: her guard skills as a wing player (or 3).

"The beauty of coaching Maya is, I might pick a couple of things for her to work on -- but she already has 10 things listed in her book to improve," Reeve said. "She writes things down from game to game and looks for consistencies and patterns.

"The continuing evolution is her guard play. Maya came into the league as a post player and made an immediate transition to play the 3. She's one of the few success stories we have in the league as far as being able to do that and excel at the level she has so quickly."