The Lynx’s game against the Mystics on Sunday night may not have had any impact on the standings, but you’d be hard-pressed to call it meaningless.
In Lindsay Whalen’s last regular-season WNBA game, Minnesota made sure to get a victory for No. 13, giving her what had to be the best ‘Whay Day’ present they could come up with.
The Lynx were locked into the No. 7 seed before the game started, but gained key momentum heading into a single-elimination playoff game against the Los Angeles Sparks in L.A. on Tuesday night.
“We obviously came to try to get a win going into the playoffs but most importantly it’s ‘Whay Day,’” said Seimone Augustus. “Lindsay Whalen is the winningest player in this league. So we wanted to send her off the right way.”
Every player on the Lynx seemed eager to get behind that goal. Whalen herself had 10 points with six assists and five rebounds, Cecilia Zandalasini finished with 12 in her best game in weeks, Temi Fagbele scored 10 off the bench and Seimone Augustus and Maya Moore were both effective while getting a chance to play a few fewer minutes than usual.
Leading the festivities, however, was Sylvia Fowles. She finished with 26 points and 14 rebounds on 10-of-12 shooting.
Fowles has led the Lynx statistically all season long and she capped off a remarkable run with a well-deserved milestone. With her 14th rebound of the night, she set a new WNBA single-season rebounding record. Fowles collected 404 boards this season, passing Jonquel Jones who held the previous record of 403. Fowles is playing some of her best basketball of the season at the perfect time. Her contributions will be essential on Tuesday against the Sparks.
All in all, Sunday night was a pretty good party.
Fowles said after the game that she was surprised Whalen didn’t get more emotional when all was said and done.
“I thought she was going to get emotional tonight with the fans, and our coaches, and her teammates, but she didn’t so she held it down,” Fowles said of her teammate. “Maybe she will cry afterward when it’s all over and done with but she was really cool about everything.”
While ‘Whay Day’ was a resounding success, the Lynx need to focus on basketball right now. With the regular season over, they will be facing their biggest rivals on the road in just two days. The Lynx and Sparks know each other well, so the scouting reports might not offer many surprises, but the Lynx have not been very successful against the Sparks this season. There have been a few close games, but only one win.
The Lynx are confident in their ability to go into L.A. and do some damage. Remember, Whalen isn’t retired yet. She has at least one more game to play, and boy is it a big one.