The Lynx are aiming for their third WNBA championship in four seasons this year, and the first home game of their title defense is at 4 p.m. Sunday against Connecticut. In advance of that game, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up with point guard Lindsay Whalen on a number of subjects.
Q Is this year comparable to a couple of years ago when you were trying to repeat, or is every year different?
A I feel like this year we have a good energy about us. I’ve felt like that since I came in. … Everybody is excited to be here. Every year is a new, fun journey.
Q Everybody talks about the Lynx as a veteran team because the core has been together for a while. That can be code for “mature,” or it can be code for “old.” How do you approach that?
A I still feel like we have a good mix of vets and young people. We have the vets who have been through it and know what to expect, then the young players — Monnie [Wright], Maya [Moore] — who are in that middle, and then we have our rookies and second-year players. But we have a good mix of people that have been together for so many years. We know what it means to be successful.
Q You have a little more adversity this year than in years that I can remember. What is it going to take to push past some of those early injuries?
A I think it’s the [players] who have been here, really executing and paying attention to the little things. And it’s exciting because we’ll get these guys back healthy and feeling good. We’ll develop a couple more people, and once we get those guys back, it will just add to what we’ve been doing.
Q With the Wild making a little playoff run here, a lot of people started talking about how long it’s been since a team has won a championship. When you hear that are you ever thinking, ‘Hello, over here. We won two of the last three.’?
A Yeah, a little bit (laughs). You know, we’re a fun team to watch, man. We’ve been putting a good product on the floor for a bunch of years. We’ve won it twice. Made it there three times in a row. But we’re just going to keep working hard and doing our thing.
Q I know you are a great Minnesota sports mind. Vikings draft. What’s your assessment?
A I think the first pick, everyone was talking about Johnny Football, but I didn’t think they were going to take him at No. 8 or 9. I really felt like they were going to go defense. Defense wins the games. I figured later they’d try to get back in for a quarterback. I actually was asleep before the end of the first round because I go to bed early these days. Then I woke up to us having Teddy Bridgewater, and I was pumped. People were down on him after the pro day, but he at one time was No. 1. … Overall, it was good. I saw one thing that gave them an A-plus.
Q You can’t get a higher than that. Did you get any A-pluses at the U?
A Uh, no. Close. I held down my 3.0. I was academic All-American one year. That’s one of my highlights.