Combined, these two players have won three WNBA Most Valuable Player awards, two rebounding titles, and one scoring title.
However, only one of them can claim to be a champion.
While the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx were the two best teams in the league this season, and the Sparks’ Nneka Ogwumike won the league MVP, it won’t be the battle between the two teams that people will be watching.
The real battle will be against two players playing against each other on the biggest stage for the first time in either of their careers...
While they have faced each other in the playoffs before (with Moore and the Lynx holding a 4-1 advantage over Parker and the Sparks), this will be the first season they will face each other for the championship; something that wouldn’t have been made possible without the league’s format change they made last September.
Since both the Lynx and Sparks are in the Western Conference, only one would be able to compete for the title; now, with the new format, the league and fans alike will be able to see the top two teams AND two of the best players go head-to-head.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at their storied history in the playoffs.
In the five games Moore and Parker have played against each other in the playoffs, here are their head-to-head stats:
Maya Moore: 24.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg and 2.8 apg
Candace Parker: 25.4 ppg, 11.6 rpg and 4.6 apg
Looking at the stats, you can make the argument that Candace Parker is the better player of the two when it matters the most, but at the end of the day, it is Moore who comes out as the victor in this battle.
Why, you ask? Let these numbers speak for themselves:
Moore: 4 head-to-head playoff wins, three WNBA championships
Parker: 1 head-to-head win, zero WNBA championships
How is that for a statement? And during the 2016 regular season, Moore and the Lynx won the season series against the Sparks 2-1, including the “Battle of the Unbeatens” when the Lynx (12-0) beat the Sparks (11-0) to set the record for best start to a WNBA season. Combined, these two teams had a 54-14 (.794) record during the regular season (Minnesota went 28-6, LA went 26-8, their best record since 2006).
If you wanted to make a stronger case that Moore might be better, look no further than their success since she has entered the league. Since becoming the number one draft pick in 2011 out of Connecticut, the Minnesota Lynx have now been to five of the last six WNBA Finals. For Parker, this is her first-ever trip to the promised land, and the first appearance for the Sparks since 2003 (they lost to Detroit 2-1).
At the end of the day, though, everybody is a winner. We’re getting the two best teams in the league to go against each other for the greatest prize: the bragging rights as 2016 WNBA champions.