Griffin passes mentor on WNBA list [Basketball]

September 19, 2013

Kelsey Griffin

When Kelsey Griffin of Eagle River sank a 3-pointer for Connecticut Sun early in the third quarter last week against Atlanta, the bucket gave her team the lead. It also gave her the lead in another category.

The basket helped Griffin became Alaska’s all-time leading scorer in the WNBA, surpassing Jessica Moore of Palmer for the most points in the world’s greatest women’s basketball league.

“I didn’t realize that I had achieved that,” Griffin told me. “That is a great honor and I feel very privileged.”

Griffin has 665 career points in 133 regular season games compared to Moore’s 644 points in 223 games.

The 6-foot-2 Griffin has always been a scorer dating back to her All-American days at the University of Nebraska. She scored a career-high 296 points in 34 games this season [8.7 ppg], her fourth in the WNBA.

Meanwhile, the 6-foot-3 Moore has always been more of a defense-minded player going back to her national championship days at the University of Connecticut. In nine WNBA seasons she never scored more than 150 points, yet she did a lot of the physical work under the basket like rebounding, boxing out, setting screens and altering shots.

“I think it’s unfair to rate a player solely on statistics,” Griffin said. “I think Jessica Moore has impacted the league and made so many players better because of the kind of person and basketball player she is.”

Griffin has idolized Moore for years, and for good reason. Moore paved the way for women much like Trajan Langdon did for men – basketball pioneers who changed the national perception of Alaska hoops.

Moore won three NCAA titles and reached the WNBA Finals in 2009.

“I believe the world of sports today puts too much emphasis on the stat sheet and not enough on how a player carries themselves and performs from a team, not just a scorer on a team,” Griffin said. “I feel very honored to be mentioned with Jess Moore as one of the basketball greats to come out of the state of Alaska.”