When Lindsay Whalen retired as an WNBA player, a longtime WNBA opponent and former USA basketball teammate was asked to describe Whalen.
"My lasting impression is her energy and her vibe as a teammate," Sue Bird told the Star Tribune in 2018. "She can simultaneously motivate you and make you smile. There is something special to that."
After standout careers at Hutchinson High School and the University of Minnesota and a sterling 15-year career in the WNBA, Whalen will be remembered as one of the top players in Minnesota basketball history.
Whalen, a 5-foot-9 point guard, was a three-time All-Missota Conference selection during her high school career. Despite scoring 1,996 points in her high school career and being named a finalist for Minnesota's Ms. Basketball as a senior, Whalen started her college career as a relatively unheralded freshman.
In her four seasons at Minnesota, she became one of the top players in the nation. She earned first-team All-Big Ten honors three times (2002, 2003 and 2004) and first-team All-America honors twice (2003 and 2004) as she led the Gophers to three NCAA tournament appearances. Among those three appearances was the Gophers' first-ever berth in the Final Four (in 2004).
Whalen finished her Gophers career ranked in the top six in seven categories — points, scoring average, games in double figures, assists, field goals made, consecutive games started and steals.
Following the 2004 season, Whalen became the first Gophers player to be selected in the WNBA draft, when she was taken in the first round (fourth overall) by Connecticut.
She spent the first six WNBA seasons with Connecticut, before being traded to Minnesota Lynx in 2010. Over the next nine seasons, Whalen helped the Lynx win four WNBA championships. She was a three-time All-WNBA first-team selection. At the time of her retirement, she was the all-time winningest player in league history. In 15 seasons she was a part of 322 victories.
She played overseas during the WNBA offseasons for 10 years and was a member of gold medal teams at the World Championships in 2010 and 2014 and a member of U.S. Olympic teams that won gold medals in 2012 and 2016.
In April of 2018, Whalen was named the head women's basketball coach at Minnesota. She played the 2018 season with the Lynx before retiring as a player.
Teams: Hutchinson, Gophers, Lynx.