Maya Moore put up incredible numbers all season for Minnesota. Now she’s got her first WNBA MVP award.

Moore earned the league’s most valuable player on Thursday, hours before the Lynx opened their Western Conference semifinals playoff series with the San Antonio Stars.

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized for all the hard work that I’ve put in,” said Moore in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday night. “I think of all the people who have helped me in my journey as a basketball player. They should be recognized with this award. It means so much to have the respect of the people who watch the game and love the game.”

Moore led the league in scoring, averaging a career-best 23.9 points. She set a WNBA record by scoring at least 30 points 12 times, including in four straight games. The scoring mark was the third-highest average in league history, trailing only Phoenix’s Diana Taurasi’s 25.3 points in 2006 and 24.1 points in 2008.

Accepting the trophy roughly 90 minutes before the Lynx faced the Stars, Moore’s only lament was the timing, having to talk individual honors, while trying to focus on the team goal of repeating as WNBA champs.

Moore received 35 of the 38 first place votes, surpassing Taurasi and Atlanta’s Angel McCoughtry. Los Angeles’ Candace Parker was fourth and Phoenix’s Brittney Griner finished fifth.

source: Griner, brondello to receive WNBA awards: A person close to the situation said Phoenix’s Brittney Griner has won the WNBA defensive player of the year award.

The person said Griner will receive the award Friday night in Phoenix before the Mercury face Los Angeles in the first game of the Western Conference semifinals. The person spoke to The Associated Press late Thursday night on condition of anonymity because no official announcement has been made.

Griner set a WNBA record with 129 blocks to help the Mercury win a league record 29 games. The second-year player averaged 15.6 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.8 blocks this season.

A person close to the situation said Phoenix’s Sandy Brondello has won the WNBA coach of the year award.

The person said Brondello will receive the award before Friday’s game also.

Brondello guided the Mercury to a 29-5 record in her first season in charge. Phoenix won 16 straight games during the season, the second most in WNBA history, just short of the Sparks’ record of 18 consecutive victories.

She received 33 of the 38 votes.