Hitting the Hardwood | Special Seeing Whalen Win Once Again At Williams

Mitchell Hansen
Web Editorial Associate

When Lindsay Whalen graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2004 to fulfill her lifelong dream of playing in the WNBA, she didn’t think she’d ever be back playing on the Williams Arena floor with over 14,500 fans screaming and yelling for her and her team.

But due to the ongoing Target Center renovations over the summer, Whalen and the Minnesota Lynx got that chance, finding themselves calling Williams Arena home for the 2017 postseason.

The Golden Gopher alum was excited to get the chance she never thought would come to life after she left campus nearly 14 years ago. And she wanted to make sure her and her Lynx teammates took full advantage of it.

“I knew when (Timberwolves and Lynx owner) Mr. Taylor made this decision and commitment to us to make sure we had air conditioning and everything here, I knew it was going to be special for us. I didn’t know exactly how it was going to turn out, I just kind of felt good about our chances being in this building,” Whalen said. “I’ve been a part of some special games here and some special runs. For him to have that commitment to us and to our fans, it’s really special. We owed it to him to give it our best shot and leave it all on the floor and see what happens.”

The Lynx certainly gave it their best shot, and that turned into adding title No. 4 in their trophy case last Wednesday at a place Whalen’s Lynx teammates call “The House That Wheezy Built.”

For any Minnesotan or basketball fan in general, we all had flashbacks during the 2017 playoffs that brought us back to when Whalen wore that maroon and gold uniform and had Williams Arena rocking.

Some of it could have been just Whalen playing back on her college court. Some of it could have just been vintage Whalen.

Either way, it was special to watch.

“Just when you think it can’t get any better, we create a new memory in The House That Wheezy Built,” Maya Moore said. “I’m just over the top excited and happy we did it.”

Following winning Game 5 of the WNBA Finals on Wednesday, the Lynx held a championship parade the next day right back at the University of Minnesota.

For someone that has driven on University Avenue countless times, the drive was a bit different and more special for Whalen this time.

“This one was cool because it was just a different feel being back on campus. Getting to be here at Williams, it was special. It was different and was nice we could do this,” Whalen said following the parade. “We took a nice slow drive down University Ave., a street that I’ve gone down hundreds of times. To be able to celebrate and kind of relish the moment while going down University Ave., it’s really special. I’m thankful we were able to get the win and have this special moment together.”

Every championship trophy the Lynx are able add to their trophy case is special for Whalen. But this time around, back in her college arena that she had so much success in before those four WNBA titles were accomplished, this one is a bit more special.

And for basketball fans throughout the state of Minnesota and beyond, it was equally as special to witness.

“It doesn’t get any sweeter to bring another trophy home and another ring,” Whalen said, “but to do it here is definitely pretty cool.”