Maya Moore at peace with decision to skip second WNBA season

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              Minnesota Lynx and former Connecticut player Maya Moore, left, puts her arm around former Connecticut teammate and New York Liberty player Tina Charles during a ceremony honoring their championship team before an exhibition basketball game between Connecticut and the United States, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Minnesota Lynx star Maya Moore sees missing a second consecutive WNBA season as an extension of her decision to skip last year.

The 30-year-old told The Associated Press in a phone interview Monday that her work pushing criminal justice reform wasn’t done yet.

“I think when I made my announcement last February in ‘The Players’ Tribune’ that the heartbeats of what I believed in were still true,” Moore said. “I’m still very committed to Jonathan’s case and will see it through.”

Moore has spent most of the last year trying to help a family friend overturn a conviction. Jonathan Irons has been incarcerated since 1997, convicted in the nonfatal shooting of a homeowner during a burglary. He is serving a 50-year sentence but has asked a judge to reopen his case.

“There was a hearing today where the lawyers came together with the judge to figure out the next steps are,” Moore said. “We had a really powerful hearing back on Oct. 9 when we were able to disclose all the evidence.”

Moore said that there is a set of fingerprints that didn’t belong to Irons and that it could be a key piece of evidence.

“We are in process of identifying whose fingerprints were found at the crime scene and who those belong to,” she said. “The original trial, they said they belonged to him.”

Moore said the next hearing date is March 9.

While Moore is sitting out for a second straight season and a chance to play in a third Olympics, she confirmed that she isn’t ready to retire.

“Everyone thinks about retirement at some point. I don’t think right now is the right time to do that,” she said. “So I tried to explain it the best way I am on this journey. I wanted to make it clear I wouldn’t play in the 2020 season and the Olympics, but don’t think it’s the right time to put retirement out there.”

Moore was in Connecticut for the U.S. national team’s exhibition game against UConn. The Huskies were honoring Moore’s teams that won national championships in 2009 and 2010.

“It’s going to be a mix of emotions and I want to be appreciative and soak it all in,” Moore said of coming to the game. “It will be a surreal feeling watching the national team.”

Moore received a warm ovation from the crowd when she was introduced before the game.

“I think it was a bigger deal for Maya. This is someone who hadn’t been around UConn or in “public”,” U.S. coach Cheryl Reeve said. “Think of all the worlds that just merged that Maya’s been a part of. There was a lot going on for Maya. Tremendous to see her and a lot of WNBA players. For Maya I told her I was really glad that she participated in this very important day in honoring these teams that she was a big part of.”