Lindsay Whalen

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Lindsay Whalen
Whalen in 2018
Personal information
Born (1982-05-09) May 9, 1982 (age 41)
Hutchinson, Minnesota, U.S.
Listed height5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Listed weight173 lb (78 kg)
Career information
High schoolHutchinson
(Hutchinson, Minnesota)
CollegeMinnesota (2000–2004)
WNBA draft2004: 1st round, 4th overall pick
Selected by the Connecticut Sun
Playing career2004–2018
PositionPoint guard
Coaching career2018–present
Career history
As player:
20042009Connecticut Sun
2006–2007UMMC Ekaterinburg
2007–2012ZVVZ USK Prague
20102018Minnesota Lynx
2013–2014Dynamo Moscow
2014–2016AGÜ Spor
2016Yakin Dogu Universeti
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
Stats at
Stats at
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame
Women's basketball
Representing  United States
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 2012 London Team
Gold medal – first place 2016 Rio de Janeiro Team
World Championship
Gold medal – first place 2010 Czech Republic
Gold medal – first place 2014 Turkey

Lindsay Marie Whalen (born May 9, 1982) is a former professional basketball player and coach. She most recently served as the head coach at Minnesota.[1][2]

She began her professional career as a point guard for the Connecticut Sun of the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA).[3] Whalen has won World titles and two Olympic gold medals with the United States women's national basketball team, as well as four WNBA championships with the Minnesota Lynx. Whalen was announced as a finalist for the Women's Basketball Hall Of Fame in 2022.

In 2018, she took over coaching duties at the University of Minnesota, while continuing to play for the Lynx in the WNBA.[4] She retired from playing professional basketball at the end of the 2018 season[5][6] as the WNBA's career leader in games won (323).[7]

High school career[edit]

At Hutchinson High School in Hutchinson, Minnesota, Whalen was a four-time All-Missota Conference pick, and led her team to three consecutive conference basketball championships. She was also a four-time honorable mention All-State selection. She averaged 22.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists as a junior.

Whalen won a state title and placed 13th nationally with her club team, the Minnesota Jaguars. She was also an All-Conference selection in tennis and track.

The gymnasium has since been renamed in Whalen's honor.

College career[edit]

The University of Minnesota women's basketball program rose to national prominence during Whalen's college career. The average attendance at women's basketball games grew from 1,087 during her freshman season to 9,866 her senior year. She became Minnesota's all-time leading scorer on January 25, 2004, against Michigan State, surpassing 1994 Wade Trophy Winner Carol Ann Shudlick. Whalen finished her career with 2,285 points, fifth best in Big Ten Conference history.

Whalen holds Minnesota career records in points, scoring average, games in double figures, free throws made and free throw percentage. Whalen is also among the top ten in field goals made, field goal attempts, field goal percentage, three-pointers made, three-pointers attempted, three-point field goal percentage, free throws attempted, assists and steals. Whalen shares Minnesota's single-game record for free throw percentage (14–14 vs. Creighton on 12/4/03) and is the only four-time team MVP in school history.

She was a two-time Wade Trophy Finalist (2003, 2004) and a two-time Naismith Award Finalist (2003, 2004). As a senior, Whalen was a Kodak All-American First Team, made the USBWA All-American Second Team, USBWA All-American Second Team and AP All-American Second Team. She was the first Golden Gopher to earn All-American honors in three different seasons and led Minnesota to its first-ever Final Four appearance in 2004, one of three straight NCAA Tournament appearances for Minnesota. The program had been to the tournament just once before her arrival.

In the postseason, Whalen was named NCAA Mideast Region MVP for the 2004 NCAA tournament and was a unanimous selection for All-Big Ten First Team in 2004, 2003 and 2002. She was a three-time Academic All-Big Ten (2004, 2003, 2002), won the 2004 and 2002 Fast Break Club Award. As a junior, she was a Kodak All-American First Team, USBWA All-American First Team and an AP All-American Second Team.

Whalen's jersey number 13 was retired by the University of Minnesota during a ceremony in January 2005 at Williams Arena.

College statistics[edit]


  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Year Team GP Points FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2000-01 Minnesota 25 425 47.6 30.2 73.5 4.0 3.3 1.7 0.1 17.0
2001-02 Minnesota 30 667 56.1 34.9 77.0 5.5 5.3 2.7 0.2 22.2
2002-03 Minnesota 31 639 54.6 32.4 84.7 5.0 6.2 1.9 0.0 20.6
2003-04 Minnesota 27 554 51.4 40.0 83.2 5.1 5.4 1.9 - 20.5
Career Minnesota 113 2285 52.8 34.9 79.8 4.9 5.1 2.1 0.1 20.2

WNBA career[edit]

Young woman wearing white Lynx basketball uniform and her hair up preparing to shoot
Whalen shoots a free throw in 2013
Whalen at the 2016 WNBA Finals. Kristi Toliver of the Los Angeles Sparks at right

Whalen was selected in the first round of the 2004 WNBA draft (4th overall) by the Connecticut Sun. Until 2005 when Minnesota teammate Janel McCarville was selected at number 1, she was the highest drafted WNBA player ever from the Big Ten Conference. The Minnesota Lynx made an unsuccessful pre-draft trade, sending Sheri Sam and Janell Burse to the Seattle Storm for Amanda Lassiter and the 6th pick in the draft in an attempt to get hometown hero Whalen. Connecticut picked Whalen before Minnesota could, and the Storm had two more pieces to their eventual championship team.

In her rookie season, she was selected to play in the historic WNBA vs. USA Basketball game at Radio City Music Hall. She led the Sun to the WNBA Finals in her first and second seasons, playing while injured in the 2005 Finals. The Sun lost both years in the Finals to the Seattle Storm and Sacramento Monarchs respectively.

In the 2008 season, Whalen led a young team to second place in the Eastern Conference. She was the MVP runner-up to Candace Parker. She was selected to the First Team All-WNBA for the first time in her career. In the playoffs, the Sun could not hold off the New York Liberty as they fell 2–1. Whalen led the league in assists with 5.4 per game.

On January 12, 2010, Whalen was traded to her native team, the Minnesota Lynx in a deal that also involved Renee Montgomery. She signed a multi-year contract extension with the Minnesota Lynx prior to the team's August 12, 2010 matchup with the Los Angeles Sparks. Terms of the deal were not announced, per team policy.[9]

In 2011, with a supporting cast of Seimone Augustus, Rebekkah Brunson, Renee Montgomery and rookie Maya Moore, Whalen helped lead the Lynx to its first WNBA Championship.[10] The Lynx finished the regular season 27–7, good for the second best record in franchise history and best in the league. Playing alongside a healthy Seimone Augustus and rookie sensation Maya Moore, Whalen led the WNBA in assists with 5.9 per game.[11] Whalen finished fifth in MVP voting[12] and was named First Team All-WNBA for the second time in her career. In 2012, Whalen led the league in assists for the third time in her career, and led the Lynx back to the finals, where they lost to the Indiana Fever.

Whalen greeted by the governor of Minnesota in 2011

In 2013, the Minnesota Lynx acquired the rights to Janel McCarville via a three-team trade, and she and Whalen were reunited as teammates. On September 7, 2013, Whalen became only the second player in WNBA history to record 4,000 points, 1,500 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in her career, joining Becky Hammon.[13] She also became the 20th player in league history to reach 4,000 points.

In 2015, Whalen was named a WNBA All-Star for the fifth time in her career while averaging 10.9 ppg and 4.3 apg. Midway through the season the Minnesota Lynx traded for Sylvia Fowles part of a three-team deal, strengthening their lineup as the Lynx made it back to the finals. The finals match-up was a rematch against the Indiana Fever, the Lynx would avenge their previous finals loss defeating the Fever 3–2 in the series, winning their third championship in five years.

During the 2016 season, Whalen's minutes were limited to just under 30 minutes of playing time each game, she averaged 9.8 ppg while shooting a career-high in field goal percentage. The Lynx remained a championship contending team, finishing with a franchise best 28–6 record. With the WNBA's new playoff format in effect, the Lynx were the number 1 seed in the league with a double-bye to the semi-finals (the last round before the WNBA Finals) facing the Phoenix Mercury. Prior to the playoffs, Whalen had signed a multi-year contract extension with the Lynx.[14] The Lynx defeated the Mercury in a 3-game sweep, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the fifth time in six years. It was also Whalen's seventh career Finals appearance, which is the most by any player in league history. The Lynx were up against the Los Angeles Sparks, making it the second time in league history where two teams from the same conference faced each other in the Finals due to the new playoff format. However, the Lynx were defeated by the Sparks in a hard-fought five-game series with a final score of 77–76 in Game 5. The game winning shot came down to Whalen, who with 3 seconds left passed the ball to Rebekkah Brunson off the inbound, immediately passing the ball back to Whalen, who then dribbled up to half court and missed the game winning shot attempt from half court as it hit the top of the backboard and missed the rim.[15] Whalen was also included in the WNBA Top 20@20, the best players in the WNBA's twenty years of activity.[16]

Whalen and Elena Delle Donne in 2018

In the 2017 season, Whalen missed 12 games due to a left hand injury. In August 2017, she underwent successful surgery to repair the fracture in her left hand and was ruled out indefinitely.[17] She played 22 games and averaged 8.0 ppg during the season prior to the injury. Whalen returned in time for the playoffs on September 12, 2017, after recovering from hand surgery. She started in Game 1 of the semi-finals against the Washington Mystics. Whalen scored 2 points along with 2 assists in 17 minutes of play in a 101–81 victory.[18] The Lynx defeated the Washington Mystics in a 3-game sweep, advancing to the WNBA Finals for the sixth time in seven years, setting up a rematch with the Sparks. This would be Whalen's eighth career Finals appearance, adding to her already record-setting number total of Finals appearances in league history. The Lynx would avenge last season's Finals loss defeating the Sparks in five games to win their fourth WNBA championship in seven years, tying the now-defunct Houston Comets for most championship titles.

Whalen amusing the audience at Lindsay Whalen Day in 2018

Whalen wanted to retire in March 2018 but stayed on after a four-hour telephone conversation with Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve.[19] She earned the head coaching job at the university in April, so her dual responsibilities resulted in a season that The New York Times called juggling and "emotional whiplash."[4] In August 2018, she announced she would retire from playing professional basketball after the completion of the 2018 season.[5][6] The Lynx finished as the number 7 seed in the league with an 18–16 record, making it the first time in 8 years where they didn't finish as a top 2 seed. They faced the rival Los Angeles Sparks in the first round elimination game. This would be Whalen's final game as the Lynx were defeated 75–68; she scored 9 points in the loss.

Jersey retirement[edit]

On June 8, 2019, the Minnesota Lynx honored Whalen by retiring her No. 13 jersey that she wore from 2010 to 2018. The ceremony took place at the Target Center before the game against the Los Angeles Sparks. On August 23, 2019, the Connecticut Sun also honored Whalen by retiring her No. 13 jersey that she wore from 2004 to 2009. The ceremony took place at halftime in the Mohegan Sun Arena during the game between the Sun and the Las Vegas Aces.[20]

USA Basketball[edit]

Whalen was invited to the USA Basketball Women's National Team training camp in the fall of 2009.[21] The team selected to play for the 2010 FIBA World Championship and the 2012 Olympics is usually chosen from these participants.[21][22] Whalen was selected to be a member of the National team representing the US at the World Championships held in September and October 2010. The team was coached by Geno Auriemma. Because many team members were still playing in the WNBA until just prior to the event, the team had only one day of practice with the entire team before leaving for Ostrava and Karlovy Vary, Czech Republic. Even with limited practice, the team managed to win its first games against Greece by 26 points. The team continued to dominate with victory margins exceeding 20 points in the first five games. Several players shared scoring honors, with Swin Cash, Angel McCoughtry, Maya Moore, Diana Taurasi, Whalen, and Sylvia Fowles all ending as high scorer in the first few games. The sixth game was against undefeated Australia — the USA jumped out to a 24-point lead and the USA prevailed 83–75. The USA won its next two games by over 30 points, then faced the host team, the Czech Republic, in the championship game. The USA team had only a five-point lead at halftime, which was cut to three points, but the Czechs never got closer. Team USA went on to win the championship and gold medal. Whalen averaged 5.9 points per game.[23]

Whalen was named by the USA Basketball Women's National Team Player Selection Committee to compete for the US at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.[24] Whalen earned praise for her performance at the Olympics, especially for a critical stretch of play against Australia in the semifinal.[25] Whalen earned her first Olympic gold medal as the U.S. women swept all eight games they played, with an average margin of victory over 34 points per game.

Whalen played for Team USA in the 2016 Summer Olympics and earned her second Olympic gold medal as they defeated Spain 101–72. In 2018, Whalen announced her retirement from USA basketball, citing the facts that she wasn't absolutely sure that she would compete in the 2020 Olympics and the desire to give younger players an opportunity to have an Olympic experience.[26]

Overseas career[edit]

In the 2006–07 and 2007-08 off-seasons, Whalen played in Russia for UMMC Ekaterinburg. From 2007 to 2012, Whalen played five off-seasons in Czech Republic for ZVVZ USK Prague. In the 2012-13 off-season, Whalen played in Turkey for Galatasaray and returned to Russia in the 2013-14 off-season to play for Dynamo Moscow with teammate Seimone Augustus. Since 2014, Whalen had played a couple off-seasons for AGÜ Spor in the Turkish League. In January 2016, Whalen was announced as a player for Yakin Dogü Universeti.

Coaching career[edit]

Whalen coaching in 2018

In April 2018, Whalen was hired as the new head women's basketball coach at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota.[1][2] Whalen continued to play for the Lynx until the end of the 2018 season while taking on these duties.[1]

In Whalen's first season she helped the team to a 21–11 record, as well as 9–9 record in the Big Ten, becoming just the fifth coach in Golden Gopher history to win 20+ games in their first season. The Gophers also spent 10 straight weeks in the AP Poll, their longest run since the 2005–06 season. On March 2, 2023, Whalen was fired as head coach following Minnesota's first round loss to Penn State during the 2023 Big Ten women's basketball tournament. In five seasons at Minnesota, she led the Gophers to a 71–76 overall record and 32–58 record in conference play.[27]

Head coaching record[edit]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Minnesota Golden Gophers (Big Ten Conference) (2018–2023)
2018–19 Minnesota 21–11 9–9 T-6th WNIT Second Round
2019–20 Minnesota 16–15 5–13 11th
2020–21 Minnesota 8–13 7–11 10th
2021–22 Minnesota 15–18 7–11 10th WNIT Second Round
2022–23 Minnesota 11–19 4–14 T-11th
Minnesota: 71–76 (.483) 32–58 (.356)
Total: 71–76 (.483)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion

WNBA career statistics[edit]

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career best ° League leader
Denotes seasons in which Whalen won a WNBA championship

As of her retirement, Whalen's regular-season career ranks were as follows (from 14th in points scored, 3rd in assists, 27th in rebounds, 14th in steals, 9th in field goal percentage, and 12th in free throw percentage. Whalen is also the winningest player in WNBA history, playing on the winning team in 325 WNBA regular season games.

In the playoffs, Whalen ranks 3rd all-time in points scored, 1st in assists, and 14th in rebounds.

Regular season[edit]

2004 Connecticut 31 30 30.5 .454 .351 .730 2.9 4.8 1.3 0.0 3.0 8.9
2005 Connecticut 34 34 30.8 .466 .348 .801 3.8 5.1 1.2 0.1 2.6 12.1
2006 Connecticut 33 33 26.0 .389 .129 .903 3.7 4.6 1.0 0.1 2.3 9.0
2007 Connecticut 34 34 30.6 .468 .209 .785 4.8 5.0 2.1 0.1 2.1 13.4
2008 Connecticut 31 31 29.3 .461 .338 .803 5.6 5.4 1.4 0.0 1.8 14.0
2009 Connecticut 34 34 29.4 .430 .265 .891 4.6 4.6 1.3 0.2 1.8 12.3
2010 Minnesota 33 33 33.6 .410 .227 .899 4.0 5.6 1.4 0.2 2.3 12.6
2011 Minnesota 34 34 28.1 .511 .405 .730 3.5 5.9 1.1 0.2 2.2 13.6
2012 Minnesota 33 33 27.0 .505 .500 .727 4.2 5.4 0.7 0.2 2.0 11.5
2013 Minnesota 34 34 29.6 .486 .111 .783 4.4 5.8 0.8 0.1 2.1 14.9
2014 Minnesota 34 34 30.6 .480 .100 .770 4.2 5.6 0.9 0.1 1.8 14.1
2015 Minnesota 29 29 30.1 .462 .429 .882 2.9 4.3 0.4 0.1 2.1 10.9
2016 Minnesota 32 32 24.6 .513 .273 .892 2.6 3.8 0.5 0.0 1.4 9.8
2017 Minnesota 22 22 23.6 .451 .353 .750 2.5 4.1 0.5 0.0 2.0 8.0
2018 Minnesota 32 29 19.3 .363 .357 .881 2.6 3.1 0.6 0.0 1.2 5.7
Career 15 years, 2 teams 480 476 28.3 .461 .290 .812 3.8 4.9 1.0 0.0 2.1 11.5


2004 Connecticut 8 8 31.9 .462 .364 .811 2.2 5.1 1.4 0.4 2.1 13.4
2005 Connecticut 7 7 31.4 .333 .200 .771 3.4 3.3 0.9 0.1 2.8 11.1
2006 Connecticut 5 5 31.0 .339 .333 .720 3.8 2.2 0.8 0.2 3.6 12.6
2007 Connecticut 3 3 36.7 .326 .231 .900 7.0 5.0 0.3 0.0 3.6 13.3
2008 Connecticut 3 3 30.0 .400 .250 .867 4.7 4.0 1.3 0.0 2.3 13.3
2011 Minnesota 8 8 32.0 .463 .286 .818 3.6 3.8 1.5 0.5 2.5 12.0
2012 Minnesota 9 9 30.9 .437 .333 .871 3.8 4.2 1.0 0.0 2.6 13.3
2013 Minnesota 7 7 29.3 .410 .000 .621 4.6 4.7 0.9 0.0 2.4 9.7
2014 Minnesota 5 5 33.0 .525 .429 .696 6.0 6.0 0.8 0.0 2.2 20.6
2015 Minnesota 10 10 23.4 .348 .125 .842 2.1 3.3 0.4 0.0 1.2 6.5
2016 Minnesota 8 8 26.6 .569 .429 .833 1.9 3.9 0.3 0.1 2.0 13.1
2017 Minnesota 8 8 22.9 .457 .222 .789 2.0 4.9 0.5 0.1 1.7 7.4
2018 Minnesota 1 1 30.4 .333 .200 .000 5.0 5.0 2.0 1.0 2.0 9.0
Career 13 years, 2 teams 82 82 29.2 .430 .280 .789 3.4 4.1 0.9 0.2 2.3 11.6

Personal life[edit]

Whalen married Ben Greve, an insurance advisor and former Minnesota Golden Gophers golfer, on October 6, 2007.[28]


  1. ^ a b c "Lindsay Whalen Takes Over Women's Basketball". Minnesota Golden Gophers. Archived from the original on July 1, 2018. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Fuller, Marcus. "Lindsay Whalen hired by Gophers as women's basketball coach". Star Tribune. Retrieved April 12, 2018.
  3. ^ "Lindsay Whalen Galatasaray'da". Galatasaray MP. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  4. ^ a b Megdal, Howard (May 17, 2018). "Lindsay Whalen Juggles Jobs as a W.N.B.A. Player and an N.C.A.A. Coach". The New York Times. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Youngblood, Kent (August 13, 2018). "Lindsay Whalen to retire from Lynx: Storied career comes to a close for Minnesota's homegrown talent". StarTribune. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  6. ^ a b "Lynx Guard Lindsay Whalen Announces Her Retirement From The WNBA". Minnesota Lynx. August 13, 2018. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  7. ^ Cook, Mike (August 19, 2018). "Lindsay Whalen rallies Lynx to win in her final regular-season game". Pioneer Press. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  8. ^ "Women's Basketball Player stats". NCAA. Retrieved September 24, 2015.
  9. ^ "With Lynx on Verge of Playoffs, Whalen Signs Extension ::". Archived from the original on October 9, 2011. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
  10. ^ "Lynx feted with WNBA championship parade". October 11, 2011.
  11. ^ "Lynx: Whalen Captures WNBA Peak Performer Honor".
  12. ^ "Lindsay Whalen for MVP? - SLAMonline". August 29, 2011.
  13. ^ "Chart: Whalen's career milestone". Star Tribune.
  14. ^ "Lynx sign Whalen, Augustus to multiyear deals". Retrieved August 30, 2017.
  15. ^ "Sparks win in an instant classic". October 21, 2016.
  16. ^ "Whalen Among WNBA Top20@20". Archived from the original on June 26, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2016.
  17. ^ "Lindsay Whalen Undergoes Successful Surgery to Repair Fracture in Hand - - Official Site of the WNBA".
  18. ^ "09/12/17: Washington Mystics @ Minnesota Lynx - - Official Site of the WNBA".
  19. ^ Rushin, Steve (July 26, 2018). "Yes, She Can: Lindsay Whalen Embraces the Challenge of Life on the Court and the Sideline". Sports Illustrated (Time, Inc.). Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  20. ^ "Thomas, Williams lead Connecticut Sun past Las Vegas Aces 89-95 in game with playoff feel". August 24, 2019.
  21. ^ a b "USA Basketball Women's National Team To Tip-Off Training Tomorrow In D.C." USA Basketball. Archived from the original on July 16, 2012. Retrieved October 1, 2009.
  22. ^ "Charles, Moore lead U.S. pool additions". ESPN. March 3, 2010. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  23. ^ "Sixteenth World Championship For Women -- 2010". USA Basketball. October 15, 2013. Archived from the original on September 5, 2015. Retrieved October 19, 2015.
  24. ^ "Twenty-One Finalists In The Mix For Final 2012 U.S. Women's Olympic Basketball Team Roster". USA Basketball. February 13, 2012. Archived from the original on February 16, 2012. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
  25. ^ "London 2012: Will semis loss to the U.S. be the end of an era for Australian women's basketball?". Archived from the original on May 18, 2016. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  26. ^ Youngblood, Kent (February 2, 2018). "Lynx star Lindsay Whalen retires from international competition". Star Tribune. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  27. ^ Voepel, M.A. (March 2, 2023). "Lindsay Whalen steps down as Minnesota coach after 5 seasons". Retrieved March 2, 2023.
  28. ^ "Lindsay Whalen's husband Ben Greve -". July 22, 2012.

External links[edit]