(Aaron Lavinsky/Star Tribune via AP, File)

Lindsay Whalen ends playing career; next up is head coaching job with Gophers

Hutchinson native and former Gopher wrapping up 15th season in WNBA

August 13, 2018 - 9:36 am

Hometown hero Lindsay Whalen is retiring from her professional basketball career.

“I would like to thank the WNBA, the Connecticut Sun, and the Minnesota Lynx for believing in me all of these years," said Whalen, who will finish out this season and participate in the WNBA playoffs. "I look forward to the next chapter in my basketball career and wish my Lynx coaches and teammates all of the best in the future.”

Earlier this year, Whalen was named head coach of the University of Minnesota women's basketball team, where she starred for four seasons before turning pro.

Over her 15-year WNBA career, Whalen has appeared in 477 regular season games, averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game.

Whalen has appeared in 81 career postseason contests, scoring 11.7 points per game.

“At season’s end Lindsay Whalen will retire as the winningest point guard in the history of the WNBA,” said Lynx head coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve. “I feel so fortunate to have been on the sidelines for so many of her wins. Lindsay’s will to win made her special, along with always putting her team and teammates first. I will always cherish the times we spent together over the last eight years bringing championships to her home state of Minnesota.”

Whalen was a four-time honorable mention all-state basketball player at Hutchinson High School, but burst onto the Twin Cities sports scene during her sophomore season at the University of Minnesota.

In 2001-02, Whalen averaged 22 points per game and was named Big Ten player of the year, with the Gophers qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the second time in 19 seasons.

She ended her college career with 2,285 points, at the time the most in Gopher basketball history, men or women.

A first-round pick (and 4th overall) by Connecticut of the WNBA, Whalen was traded to the Lynx for the 2010 season.

The five-time all-star helped the Lynx to WNBA championships in 2011, 2013, 2015 and last season.

Whalen has been on two USA basketball teams that have won Olympic gold medals.

She also played professional basketball in Europe for teams in Russia, the Czech Republic, and Turkey, skipping the last two seasons.

Whalen did not start Sunday night's game for the Lynx, just the second time in her WNBA career that she's played as a reserve. The only other time was during her rookie season.

In limited play, Whalen scored four points in the 81-72 loss to Seattle.