Whalen earns MVP buzzIt’s in the snap of her neck on a no-look pass to finish a fast break. It’s in the flick of her wrist as she puts a little english on the ball on a reverse layup.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — It’s in the snap of her neck on a no-look pass to finish a fast break. It’s in the flick of her wrist as she puts a little english on the ball on a reverse layup.
It’s in the pump of her fist as another opponent calls timeout to stunt a Minnesota Lynx run.
The signs are both subtle and overt when Kathy Whalen watches her daughter Lindsay on the basketball court these days. The weight of playing in her home state that stifled her last season is gone now — and it’s made all the difference.
“She put that pressure on herself to make sure she was available for everything,” Kathy Whalen said. “It just wore her down. It really did. I know this year she has said no to a lot of things and I think she’s had to. But it shows in her game.”
In her second season back home in Minnesota, and with No. 1 overall pick Maya Moore around to share some of the spotlight, Lindsay Whalen has been able to focus more of her energy on the court than and not feel as guilty for turning down some of those marketing and public appearances she felt compelled to do a year ago.
Whalen set career highs in points (13.6), assists (5.9), field goal percentage (.511) and 3-point shooting (.405) to emerge as an MVP candidate while leading the Lynx (27-7) to the best record in the WNBA. They open their first playoff appearance in seven years against San Antonio on Friday night.
“I think I’ve kind of benefited from so many people doing so well,” Whalen said. “I feel like the attention has really been dispersed throughout the team. I think that’s really been a good thing.”
It’s exactly what everyone had in mind — the Prairie Home point guard who still has some of that Minnesooooh-tah accent to go with the Rucker Park flair and ferociousness that highlight her game on the court.
Everyone just had to wait a year longer for it all to come together.
After resurrecting the dormant University of Minnesota women’s program and leading the Gophers to the Final Four in 2004, Lynx fans clamored for the team to trade everything it had to keep Whalen at home.
It took CEO Roger Griffith eight years to finally make it happen. After missing out on Whalen in the draft, Griffith sent the No. 1 overall draft pick in the 2010 draft and Renee Montgomery to the Sun for Whalen and a first-round pick.
“Hands down, she is the floor leader and the team leader. We wouldn’t be where we are without her.”