When the Lynx and Aces played in Las Vegas last month, the Lynx got just about everything they could have wanted. And young Aces guard Kelsey Plum got a lesson she hasn’t been allowed to forget.
During a halftime interview, Plum was asked about the Lynx. She said some flattering things about Minnesota — which had jumped out to a 10-point lead at the end of the first quarter — but afterward there was just one word that mattered: old.
Plum had used that descriptor for the veteran Lynx, and you better believe they noticed. After cruising to an 88-73 victory — their fourth in what would become a seven-game winning streak after a 3-6 start — Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve tweeted “old looks good on ya” and tagged Plum in the tweet.
The Lynx twitter feed added onto it with a video of Plum saying “old” over and over. It went viral, including several views from Lynx players over dinner that night in Vegas.
With the Lynx set to face the Aces at Target Center on Friday in the first meeting between the teams since the “old” incident, I wanted to know where things stood.
At Aces shootaround Friday morning — where all the court lights at Target Center mysteriously went out for about five minutes, by the way — I had the chance to talk to Plum. I could tell she didn’t really want to talk about it, but she was gracious in the interview and tried once again to explain herself.
“They definitely took it out of context, what I said, but hey I shouldn’t have said it,” Plum said. “It was my fault, and I’ve moved on.”
Out of context?
“If you look at the actual clip, I just said they were very experienced and very tough. And then I did say that word, but I didn’t mean to say it like that. I just meant to say that experience is everything in this league and you can tell,” Plum said. “They’ve been together a long time and know each other so well and execute better than anyone in the league. Old was a compliment, but it was taken wrong. I’m sorry, Lynx. I’m sorry for the 80 billionth time. … I have beyond learned my lesson.”
Afterward, as she shot baskets with teammates, they razzed her a little bit. One of them said, matter-of-factly, that the Lynx are even older now than the first time these teams played last month.
At Lynx shootaround afterward, Lindsay Whalen — at age 36 tied with Rebekkah Brunson as the oldest player on the roster — cut Plum some slack. She called Plum, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, one of “the up-and-coming guards” in the WNBA and noted that Plum probably “didn’t mean it like she said it.”
But at the same time, Whalen also appreciated Reeve tweet and subsequent comments about the perceived slight.
“I appreciate what coach said because our team is one of the older teams and we’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s kind of a badge of honor. To be able to do this for this long is pretty impressive. She wants the younger players to understand what we’ve done and the benchmark we’ve set,” Whalen said. “Sometimes with the narrative of ‘we’re old’ I think people forget … we’re the current dynasty. And as much as they want to say we’re old they have to give us a certain amount of respect. I think teams do, but maybe in that instance coach really wanted to make that point.”
Maybe the Lynx used it as motivation. Maybe they’ll continue to do so in the rematch Friday, or maybe Plum will win one for youth.
Whatever the case, this much is certain: Plum will never call the Lynx old again, and for good reason.