Michael Rand started RandBall with hopes that he could convince the world to love jumpsuits as much as he does. So far, he's only succeeded in using the word "redacted" a lot. He welcomes suggestions, news tips, links of pure genius, and pictures of pets in Halloween costumes here, though he already knows he will regret that last part.

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Posts about WNBA

Monday (Boston fan base envy) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 14, 2013 - 10:24 AM

 

Google Maps says it takes 37 minutes -- in good traffic, mind you -- to get from Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play, to Fenway Park, home of the Red Sox.

 

We imagine traffic last night would have been next to impossible, but still there is this:

It was possible to attend the Patriots/Saints game in Foxboro, which ended at around 6:40 p.m. Central time, hop in a vehicle, and make it to Fenway in time for most of the innings of the Tigers/Red Sox ALCS Game 2 -- most importantly, the 8th inning and beyond.

Had you done that, you would have seen Tom Brady complete an improbable comeback after the Saints gave him the ball one too many times. The winning TD in the waning seconds was a throw for the ages and would have been enough to make the day go down in Boston lore.

But if you were so inclined, you could have then made your way to Fenway and watched David Ortiz resurrect a lifeless offense with a game-tying grand slam, after which Detroit looked so shell-shocked that the 9th inning game-winning hit was the least surprising outcome of the entire day.

Talk about a sports day for the ages.

Seriously, we watched both endings on TV. We had no rooting interest in either case. And still, it gave us some chills. We can't imagine what it is like to be a Boston fan today -- and we particularly can't imagine what it would have been like for what we imagine are the few lucky souls who managed to see both endings in person.

Unbelievable. We are officially jealous.

Programming note: If you are looking to wipe away the sting of the Vikings debacle yesterday with some positive vibes, we will be live at the Lynx parade starting at 11:30 a.m. today with a livestream of the goodness there. Please do join us?

TFD: Scenes from the welcome home for the WNBA champion Lynx

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 11, 2013 - 6:13 PM

 

The Lynx returned home as WNBA champions shortly after 5:30 Friday, and roughly 200 fans were there to greet them at Terminal 2 at the Minneapolis Airport.

 

The fans stretched so deep that they were blocking off the route to baggage claim. They waited patiently at the bottom of a staircase -- sometimes spontaneously breakout out in "Let's Go Lynx" chants and then burst into loud cheers when players walked down. 

Players held up cell phones to record the scene, just as fans did. Fans also chanted for head coach Cheryl Reeve and she blew a kiss.

"When you know it's over and you won, it's amazing," guard Lindsay Whalen said.

We'll have a full report plus video later.

Wednesday (The Lynx: one team we can count on) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: October 9, 2013 - 9:56 AM

 

Not long ago, the Twins were making the playoffs regularly and the Vikings seemed to be on the cusp of the Super Bowl. And the Lynx? The Lynx were mediocre. Sometimes terrible.

 

It's hard to believe now, but it's true. The one team in town now that is a consistent winner -- and one of the few that we can remember in any sport in Minnesota history that consistently just looks better than its opponent -- used to be pretty awful.

From their inception in 1999 through 2010, the Lynx had two winning seasons. They made the playoffs in both and bowed out in the first round both times. That's it. They had back-to-back 10-win seasons in 2006-07. Even in 2010, the year before this run began, they were 13-21. Remember the summer of 2010? Target Field opened, the Twins won 94 games and the Vikings were full of confidence after narrowly missing the Super Bowl with Brett Favre the year before.

What happened? Well, with the Twins and Vikings it is well-documented. The Vikings swung down, then back up, and are now in something of a holding pattern like a bad Dennis Green Calcutta Clipper. The Twins swung down, swung and missed and here we are.

But the Lynx? Well, they became the WNBA's version of the San Antonio Spurs. They drafted Seimone Augustus No. 1 overall in 2006, but she was still evolving as a player and didn't have enough of a supporting cast in the early years. She missed most of 2009, which helped doom the Lynx that season but helped them win the draft lottery for the No. 1 pick in 2010. They traded that pick as part of a deal to Connecticut for Lindsay Whalen and the No. 2 pick, which turned out to be Monica Wright. They also nabbed Rebekkah Brunson in the WNBA dispersal draft before the 2010 season. All have been key players for the Lynx during their run to three consecutive WNBA finals, including what could be their second title after going up 2-0 last night against Atlanta.

But the Lynx weren't good right away in 2010, and that gave them the top pick again in 2011. That turned into Maya Moore. Presto, a dynasty is built.

A little bit of luck, a little bit of good timing and a lot of dedication. That has turned what used to be one of the worst franchises in this market into the one sure thing we have going right now.

Monday (Monica Wright and Kevin Durant engaged) edition: Wha' Happened?

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: July 8, 2013 - 9:26 AM

 

News emerged on Sunday that Kevin Durant -- of the Oklahoma City Thunder and one of the best players in the NBA, period -- and Monica Wright of the Lynx are engaged. They have been friends since their high school days, but obviously that is at a new level now.

 

A few thoughts:

1) Whenever stories like this come out, we get the obligatory questions: Why should we care? And is this news? While we will agree that much celebrity/sports news borders on the banal and can be downright intrusive, things like this and the Mauer twins rise to a certain level of human/public interest. Maybe there will come a time when nobody cares, and that nobody caring is a good thing. But we doubt it.

2) When a male athlete and female athlete become a couple, one of the first things people talk about is how athletic their kids are going to be. When they play the same sport, it is only intensified. We, of course, secretly root for the opposite. We hope the offspring either have no interest in the sport (but of course become happy, well-rounded individuals regardless) or have an intense passion for the sport but only average skills. This probably says more about us than anything else.

3) Maybe they would like to play in the same city at some point? Sure, Tulsa has a WNBA team, but that's a good 90 minutes to 2 hours away from OKC. The better scenario, obviously, would be for Durant to join the Wolves after his Thunder contract is done in 2016.

4) Anything that makes Durant, by extension, ONE OF US is something we can get behind. He's officially in our top 5 of athletes on other teams that you simply cannot hate, even if he is ripping the home team's heart out with his talent.

Lindsay Whalen leaves pro team in Turkey over contract dispute

Posted by: Michael Rand Updated: February 11, 2013 - 11:37 AM

 

Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen announced via Twitter on Monday that she has left her professional team in Turkey -- where she was playing this WNBA offseason -- because of a contract dispute.

 

The news was confirmed by the Lynx, who were also quick to note that the standout guard is very much still a part of the WNBA squad.

Said Whalen on Twitter: Thank you to my teammates and coaches for everything during my time with Galatasaray! Unfortunately because the terms of my contract were not met I felt it was in my best interest to not continue with the organization. Thank you to the fans of Galatasaray!! Your support of the team and players is amazing!

It is a notable development financially for Whalen since many WNBA players join overseas teams during the offseason, often signing lucrative contracts that supplement their WNBA salaries. It is unclear at this time whether she will seek to join another team for the stretch run prior to the WNBA season. Minnesota's first regular-season game is June 1, but training camp will begin well before that.

Whalen, who played during past offseasons in the Czech Republic, was playing this winter for Galatasaray, a club in Istanbul. According to NTV Spor in Turkey, translated by this site, she had not been paid for two months when she began the process of terminating her contract. She was averaging 13.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 10 EuroLeague games.

The former Gophers star has played three years with the Lynx, helping them to the WNBA title in 2011 and a runner-up finish in 2012. She averaged 11.5 points and 5.4 assists last season and helped Team USA to a gold medal at the London Olympics last summer.

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