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Hoops Happening: Lynx legend Lindsay Whalen will retire from the WNBA after 15 seasons

Whalen has won four WNBA Championships with the Minnesota Lynx. Plus, the drama in Dallas, links and more. This is today in women’s basketball for Monday August 13, 2018!

Lindsay Whalen poses with Minnesota Lynx Head Coach Cheryl Reeve and her four WNBA Championship trophies at her retirement news conference at the Minnesota Timberwolves and Lynx Courts at Mayo Clinic Square in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 13, 2018.
Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images

Lindsay Whalen, a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx, has announced her decision to hang up her basketball shoes at the end of the 2018 WNBA season. She is a member of the 2017 WNBA champion Lynx team, giving new meaning to the concept of going out on top.

Prior to the start of the season, Whalen, a Golden Gopher, had been named University of Minnesota Head Women’s Basketball Coach, with her embarking on the rarely-attempted feat of simultaneously playing professionally full-time and coaching full-time.

At age 36, with 15 basketball seasons on her body and declining on-court production most likely stemming from juggling two demanding careers, Whalen has decided the time is now to conclude her playing days — walking away from playing the game on her terms, while still on top.

Whalen’s retirement brings a Minnesota Lynx golden era to a close; she was, after all, a local girl and fan favorite. But her extensive accomplishments live on and will influence generations to come.

Whalen will retire:

  • the all-time winningest WNBA player
  • third in WNBA history in assists
  • a six-time All-Star
  • having made 13 playoff appearances
  • having competed in eight WNBA Finals
  • a four-time WNBA champion
  • a two-time Olympic gold medalist
  • the first player in WNBA history to notch 5,000 points, 2,000 assists and 1,500

Respected by sports community worldwide, the celebrations of her storied career have been pouring in, with everyone wishing her well in her collegiate coaching career.

High drama in Dallas

As reported last night, the Dallas Wings have relieved Fred Williams of his head coaching duties following the team’s seventh-straight loss to the Atlanta Dream on Saturday and their eighth-straight loss to the Washington Mystics on Sunday.

But the decision did not come without drama, in the form of internet rumors that Williams and Wings CEO Greg Bibb had been involved in some type of altercation following the loss Mystics. According to ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel, Williams did not elaborate upon the nature of the altercation but he seemed to acknowledge that something happened, with the following statement:

“[T]here was a little altercation after the game. It’s just one of those things that happened. I can only wish the Dallas Wings the best going forward. I wish I could have taken them to the end and seen where the journey ends up.”

Williams also indicated that it wasn’t his choice to leave the team: “These young women played hard for me and believed in me. I wouldn’t have bailed out on them like that.”

Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation reported Williams had been advised not to speak to the media after the game but did so anyway before he was relieved of his duties.

Star center Liz Cambage has long credited Williams with bringing her back into the WNBA and to the Dallas organization. In a postgame interview, Cambage said: “I think he really understands me ... he’s been emailing me and texting me no matter if I’ve been playing for Australia or playing in China or the Olympics ... he’s always been there supporting me and made me feel comfortable to come back to Dallas.”

Voepel reported that Williams’ contractual status is unclear and still being worked on by his agent. But Williams seemed adamant about not wanting his coaching career to be over. “It’s in my DNA to coach and teach,” Williams reportedly stated. “I definitely want to stay in coaching.”

More importantly, the Wings’ season remains as unclear as Williams’ contract status. Dallas clings to the final playoff spot, just one game ahead of the Las Vegas Aces. And it is clear that the tally of uninterrupted losses while pressed into a do-or-die situation to keep the final playoff seeding is what drove Bibb to act swiftly.

Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who has served in an assistant-coaching role with the Wings since 2017, has been named interim head coach. Dallas gets a shot to reverse course against the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night in a must-win situation. If the Wings lose, they will tie the ninth-place Aces for 18 losses but still have a one-game edge in the win column. However, the Aces play on Wednesday and Friday, and wins in those games could be the final nail in the coffin of the Wings’ once-promising turned unfortunate season.

Vandersloot: From courting to marrying greatness

Courtney Vandersloot has been a consistent, reliable player throughout her career. However, since being snubbed by All-Star voters this season, she has been on a quest like no other — not only breaking WNBA records but setting new ones.

Last night in the court

In Sunday WNBA action, 10 teams played: 5 teams won and 5 teams lost. Here’s your recap from Albert Lee. If you missed Saturday’s games, here’s your recap from Christine M. Hopkins.

Next up on the court

Competition resumes Tuesday with three games on the schedule and the Dallas Wings in a must-win battle against the Connecticut Sun. Stay tuned for previews!

Drink up, link lush!

The Washington Mystics game on Sunday fell on the same day that a white supremacist rally was held in the nation’s capital. The Mystics seized the opportunity to condemn white supremacy and decry that fact that hate would ever be given this platform.

Guard Kristi Toliver addressed the Capital One Arena crowd before the game.

In other news:

  • Renee Montgomery went ballistic for the Atlanta Dream against the NY Liberty on Sunday, dropping seven three-pointers in a half on her way to 30 points for the game.
  • NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA President Lisa Borders are discussing the future of the New York Liberty. Meanwhile, media and founds discussed on social media what they deem to be unsatisfactory conditions at the auditorium in Westchester.
  • The Atlanta Dream’s Imani McGee-Stafford continues her mental health advocacy.
  • Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Dallas Wings tweeted further comments about back-to-back games and garnered support from IT — Isaiah Thomas, that is. Clearly, she and the Wings have new problems to worry about, but her statements should not be discounted if she and other athletes in the league find back-to-backs to detrimental to optimal performance or player health.
  • ICYMI: Men don’t have ownership on greatness. When the NBA season begins, let’s be sure to tweet that Stephen Curry has pulled a DeWanna Bonner or [the name of any greater shooter in the WNBA].

How to #WatchThemWork all season

Shine brighter. * flicker flicker *