For one game each WNBA season, Lindsay Whalen comes to the Twin Cities. She is the point guard for the Connecticut Sun.
But Whalen, in her sixth season in the pro women's basketball league, is much better known in her home state for her success at the University of Minnesota.
As a senior, she led the Gophers to the Final Four in New Orleans in 2004.
In her first two WNBA seasons, the Sun reached the league finals. Last season Whalen was runner-up for league MVP. She helped Connecticut finish second in the Eastern Conference, by one game, with a 21-13 record.
So how is she and her team doing this season? A question-and-answer interview with Whalen follows:
Q. How has the Sun's season gone so far and how do you expect the team to finish?
A. It's kind of been up and down. We are 10-9. We went into the All-Star break on a really good note, winning four in a row. Then we came out and lost three in a row [before] a good win in Detroit.
Going into the second half, we have to focus on getting better and keep putting ourselves closer to making the playoffs.
Q. How is your year going personally, are you happy with the way you are playing?
A. There have been some cold shooting nights. We have all been through that. I've struggled a little bit here and there with my shot. It just happens.
(A brief aside: Whalen had one of her best games when the Sun beat Detroit 83-65 on Sunday. She had 22 points, six rebounds and four assists.
She has a partially black left eye now after catching an elbow in practice Monday.
Whalen is averaging 11.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game.)
Q. You have been married almost two years now, how do you make a marriage work as a year-round pro basketball player?
A. Ben [Greve], my husband, works in Connecticut during the summer. He is a golf pro at a course. So he works from April to October, then he comes overseas with me to Prague. We make it work pretty well.
(Greve is a former Gophers golfer. Lindsay has played for a basketball team in the Czech Republic the past two winters.)
Q. On visits to Minnesota, is there anybody you always have to see or anything you always do?
A. Just try to see my family. My brothers and sisters [she has two of each] and everybody are still here. I try to see people, but it's a business trip. First and foremost, we are here to get a win and we are here to play hard.
Q. What is life like for you in Connecticut? Are you a celebrity there?
A. Our whole team does a lot of PR stuff. We do appearances and things. People sometimes recognize me. It's not too often.
We got a place out there that we are renting and it's really nice. It's a great house, in a great area, pretty close to the beach. So it's fun.
Q. Why is your team 7-1 against the Lynx in the last eight games against them?
A. I don't know. They have a great team, so we can't really focus on the last bunch of games. It's going to be a hard game.
(Tipoff is 7 p.m. Friday at Target Center. For more on the Lynx, check eyeonlynx on Twitter for regular updates.)
|Pittsburgh - WP: B. Morris||8||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure||7|
|Washington - LP: S. Strasburg||2||FINAL|
|Miami - WP: T. Koehler||11|
|Pittsburgh - LP: G. Cole||5||FINAL|
|Cincinnati - WP: M. Leake||7|
|Seattle - LP: B. Beavan||0||FINAL|
|Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr.||5|
|St. Louis - WP: S. Miller||6||FINAL|
|Milwaukee - LP: M. Estrada||1|
|Boston - LP: B. Badenhop||1||FINAL|
|Chicago WSox - WP: D. Webb||2|
|Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura||4||FINAL|
|Houston - LP: L. Harrell||2|
|Toronto - WP: A. Loup||9||FINAL|
|Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes||3|
|NY Mets - WP: J. Mejia||9||FINAL|
|Arizona - LP: B. Arroyo||0|
|Oakland - WP: J. Johnson||10||FINAL|
|LA Angels - LP: Y. Herrera||9|
|Colorado - WP: J. Nicasio||3||FINAL|
|San Diego - LP: R. Erlin||2|
|Los Angeles - LP: B. League||2||FINAL|
|San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit||3|