Maya Moore’s season in China ended exactly like the vast majority of her other seasons in her career, with a championship.
Moore’s Shanxi Flame defeated the Zhejiang Golden Bulls 97-87 on Tuesday night to clinch the club’s first ever WCBA title, winning the series 3-1. Moore scored 34 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and swiped seven steals to lead the team, while Zhang Wei and Zheng Xianmin each scored 19.
Shanxi, who was in the second division last year, won the championship in their inaugural season in top flight WCBA ball.
Moore finished the series averaging 41.5 points and 10.3 rebounds.
Like Stephon Marbury one year ago, who lead the Beijing Ducks to their first ever men’s title, Moore did not win Finals MVP because WCBA rules restrict non-Asian players from winning the award. Zheng, a Korean, ended up taking home the trophy. Former head of the CBA, Li Yuanwei, called the rule “outdated.” Because… well, it is outdated.
No word yet on whether Moore — or her opponent, the 6’8 Australian, Liz Cambage — will be back next season. But here’s some food for thought about all of that: Shanxi has reportedly received somewhere near CNY 3 million in year-end bonus money from local Taiyuan city government and the provincial sports bureau for bringing home the championship. If the team wants to bring her back for a repeat bid, it seems as if money won’t be an obstacle.
So congrats to Moore and the Flame on a great season. And if you missed it, check out our interview with Moore from December.