Lindsay Whalen coaching the Gophers

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A fun time had by all 14,625 in 79-47 victory over New Hamphire

Gopher fans pack The Barn for Lindsay Whalen's first game as coach

November 10, 2018 - 7:32 am

"Hey, that was pretty fun!"

First-year Gopher women's basketball coach Lindsay Whalen received a rousing cheer from a packed house at Williams Arena when she took the microphone at midcourt following Friday's 70-47 win over New Hampshire.

It was Whalen's first game leading the program that she almost single-handedly revived in the early 2000's when she was an all-American out of Hutchinson. 

"We're going to do everything we can to make the entire state of Minnesota proud of our program by hard we work and how hard we play," coach Whalen said before heading back to the locker room.

Friday's game brought back memories of those magical years of Gopher women's basketball, which drew large crowds to the historic facility on the main campus.

The record high that was set when Whalen was a player was surpassed on Friday with an announced crowd of 14,625. The game was officially announced as a sell-out last month.

Four of the top five crowds in Gopher women's basketball history have occurred when Whalen was either a player or coach.

Annalese Lamke scored a career-high 21 points and Taiye Bello had 14 points and 14 rebounds to give the Gophers their tenth straight season-opener victory.

The Gophers never trailed in their first-ever meeting against the Wildcats, leading by as many as 27 points in the final quarter.

Whalen was hired to replace Marlene Stollings, who became head coach at Texas Tech after leading the Gophers to 24 wins and the NCAA tournament last spring.

This past summer, Whalen played her final season in the WNBA with the Lynx. She also played overseas and was a two-time member of the US Olympic basketball team