Minnesota’s Favorite Daughter.
That’s what Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve calls Lindsay Whalen, and she’s absolutely right.
The beloved and scrappy point guard who led the University of Minnesota to the Final Four, was drafted with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 WNBA Draft.
The problem, however, is that she wasn’t drafted by the Lynx.
Whalen was drafted by the Connecticut Sun fourth overall, even though the Lynx offered the Sun the kitchen sink (including the No. 6 and 7 picks) for the draft spot. It’s hard to blame Connecticut. Any team would love a leader like Whalen.
Six seasons later, the Lynx and Sun were able to make a deal thanks in part to Connecticut rebuilding. On Jan. 12, 2010, the Lynx traded second-year guard Renee Montgomery and the 2010 first-overall pick for Whalen and the 2010 No. 2 pick.
“We are happy for Lindsay and her family,” Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve told the Star Tribune at the time. “But this [trade] is about basketball. And, as a coach, I am excited [to get] a playoff-tested point guard who averages five assists a game. Give her the ball and let’s have some fun.”
This was a trade that helped the Lynx on and off the court. Of course, the fans that packed William’s Arena during Whalen’s college years were packing Target Center to see Whalen rock a Lynx jersey.
On the court, Whalen instantly become the heart and soul of the team, wearing her emotions on that same jersey, the same way she did as a Gopher.
One season after the trade, Whalen helped the Lynx capture their first championship in franchise history. As you know, there were three more to coming, including the 2013 run in which Whalen averaged a career-high 14.9 points per game. The attention seemed to always be on Maya Moore or Seimone Augustus, but in the background, there was Whalen, fighting for a rebound, diving for a ball or staring down an opponent.
As far as accolades go, the list is a long one.
She’s made four All-Star games with the Lynx – 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Whalen was also named to the All-WNBA First Team in 2011 and 2013, and the Second Team in 2012 and 2014.
Whalen is a three-time Peak Former, twice coming with the Lynx.
In 2016, Whalen was named a Top 20 WNBA player after 20 seasons, which is a pretty remarkable feat. She has also helped lead Team USA to two Olympic gold medals and two World Championship gold medals.
Whalen, who has won more games than any other WNBA player, ranks sixth in league history in games played, 15th in field goals made, eight in free-throws made, third in assists and 14th in steals.
In Lynx history, she ranks fourth in total points, third in field goals made, fourth in free-throws made and first in assists.
Whay, Weezy or Lindsay. Call her what you will, but she’s a player who has embodied what the Lynx are on and off the court.