Last night, the Minnesota Lynx beat the Los Angeles Sparks to win the WNBA Championships. This was the fourth title for the Lynx in seven years, making them the state’s most successful professional sports franchise of the past 60+ years. (Don’t @ me).
Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles, who had a double-double in every game of the finals, was all over this contest. She had 17 points, 20 rebounds, four assists, three blocked shots, and two steals in Game 5.
This was a team effort though, and key to that was one Ms. Lindsay Whalen. She chose this final game of the championships to have her best performance in a long time: 17 points, eight rebounds, and a perfect day at the free throw line.
But as Gopher fans, we all know that Whalen’s contributions cannot be measured by mere statistics. In this series, her signature competitive fire, her vocal on-court leadership, and her willingness to scrap were all on full display.
She also elevated the sellout crowd at Williams Arena. The fans were almost impossibly loud, helping Whalen deliver on a promise she’d made to her teammates. She wanted them to experience the excitement and atmosphere of a big game at The Barn, and last night, she got her wish.
Any championship is special to the team and the fans, but for Whalen, winning at Williams Arena, where a banner with her name and number hangs from the rafters, and where her journey to all-time greatness began, this moment is all the more special.
It doesn’t get any sweeter than to bring another trophy home, another ring, but to do it here is pretty cool.
The Lynx are making history, with grit, teamwork, and the sort of selflessness rarely seen from professional teams. They are worthy of the sort of adulation and celebration they got from fans at The Barn last night.
There will be a victory parade in Dinkytown this evening, and even if this moment doesn’t belong to the University of Minnesota, it still belongs to a Gopher.