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WNBA Rookie Maya Moore Faces Seattle Storm For First Time On Thursday

The last WNBA rookie who entered the league with as much hype as Minnesota Lynx rookie Maya Moore was Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker.

And in the 2011 WNBA season opener that was billed as a head-to-head between the two - even though they don't actually guard each other - Moore was as impressive as one might expect from a WNBA rookie, as described by James Bowman of SB Nation's women's basketball site Swish Appeal.

Maya Moore Follows Rookie Superstar Rule: "Be Good Early!" - Swish Appeal
Maya Moore should be happy with her 21 point debut, even though her Minnesota Lynx lost to the Los Angeles Sparks in their home opener in the 2011 season.

All and all, six out of eight players who were #1 WNBA Draft picks and who have scored at least 15 points in their rookie debut have won Rookie of the Year.

Of course, with 6-foot-8 Tulsa Shock rookie Liz Cambage also impressive out of the gate, the Rookie of the Year award is certainly not a done deal although playing for a more successful team will certainly work in Moore's favor in the minds of some voters.

But if this is indeed the first year since 2004 that the Lynx make the WNBA playoffs, Moore won't be the only reason - on paper, the Lynx are arguably the most talented team in the league top to bottom. And after an injury-plagued season last summer, they're off to a good start this season.

In addition to Moore, the Lynx have this year's fourth overall draft pick in forward Amber Harris, outstanding point guard Lindsay Whalen, last year's second overall pick in Monica Wright, and Seimone Augustus, who has one of the sweetest mid-range games in all of basketball. 

Yet thus far, Lynx writer Paul Crary suggests that none of those talented players has even been the most impressive on their team in their first three games.

Lynx: Practice Report: June 8
Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson has been a catalyst for that fast-break offense as she has dominated the boards. Brunson has put up some amazing stat lines in her first three games this season. Brunson leads the WNBA in rebounds with 42 boards, while Shock forward Liz Cambage is in second with 25 rebounds. Last season Brunson set a Lynx franchise-record with 12 doubles-doubles in one season. So far in 2011 it's been no different for Brunson, as she has recorded a double-double in each of the first three games.

Two advantages that the Storm will have over the Lynx entering this game are being rested since beating the Phoenix Mercury on Saturday and their experience playing together - whereas the Lynx are still figuring out rotations and each other, the top of the Storm's rotation is a carryover from last year and off-season acquisition Katie Smith who seemed to blend in seamlessly against the Mercury.