10 years ago Gophers women went on one incredible ride

  • Updated: April 5, 2014 - 7:06 PM
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Lindsay Whalen was in the middle of it all during the Gophers’ run to the Final Four in 2004.

Ten years ago this weekend the Gophers women’s basketball team was in New Orleans for the Women’s Final Four. The following is an excerpt from a column that Sally Jenkins wrote then for the Washington Post:

I’ve caught a case of Whalen worship.

I’m just another idiot like all the rest at the Women’s Final Four who can’t take their eyes off Minnesota’s broken-handed star guard, Lindsay Whalen, a kid with a slipstream glide to the basket and tendrils of wheat-colored hair that won’t be tamed by a headband, and a habit of taking absurdly improbable shots, most of which go in.

She has a plastic cast on her shooting hand and various other dings because she hits the floor more often than a mop. And she’s the most fun I’ve had in years.

Whalen’s team is the underdog in the Final Four, a bunch of homegrown Minnesota kids who were seeded seventh before they knocked off every team that was said to be better than them in their bracket, including Duke, to arrive here. Whalen’s got a flat Northwest accent and blank, straight-faced humor, and a habit of calling her teammates gruffly by their last names, like, “Schonrock,” and “Roysland,” and “Andersson.”

Nine of them are natives, including Whalen, from Hutchinson, a town of about 13,000 an hour west of the Twin Cities. “We’ll take a player from Wisconsin, one or two,” Whalen says. “We’re not biased.”

Whalen herself is called “Way” by her teammates and her devoted followers, and she’s everything to Minnesota, a player so valuable to her team and beloved back home that she recently received a marriage proposal from an 11-year-old boy.

“It’s not every day you get proposed to,” she says.

The Gophers lost to eventual champion UConn in the semifinals 67-58 on April 4, 2004. Whalen, now an All-Star guard in the WNBA for the Lynx and an Olympic gold medalist, scored 11 points.

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Cleveland - LP: T. Bauer 1 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: A. Swarzak 3
Cincinnati - LP: M. Leake 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Kansas City - WP: W. Davis 2 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: Z. Putnam 1
Washington - LP: S. Strasburg 4 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 6
NY Mets - WP: B. Colon 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: T. Walker 2
Detroit - WP: A. Sanchez 11 FINAL
Arizona - LP: T. Cahill 5
Los Angeles - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 6
San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 3 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Papelbon 1
Texas - LP: Y. Darvish 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Phelps 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 4 FINAL
Toronto - WP: R. Dickey 6
Miami - LP: N. Eovaldi 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: E. Santana 6
Tampa Bay - WP: A. Cobb 3 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: L. Lynn 0
San Diego - WP: I. Kennedy 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: T. Wada 3
Houston - LP: B. Peacock 7 FINAL
Oakland - WP: J. Chavez 9
Baltimore - LP: T. Hunter 2 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 3
Chicago 1 FINAL
San Jose 5
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 8/1/14 6:00 PM
Montreal
Brt Columbia 8/1/14 9:00 PM
Calgary
Saskatchewan 8/2/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Connecticut 75 FINAL
Washington 89
New York 66 FINAL
Los Angeles 64

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