The WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx returned to Minneapolis yesterday and were greeted by over 500 fans at the airport, including the governor. I got a chill seeing the team come down the escalator, with Rebekkah Brunson holding the trophy.
Also loving this video – especially at the end, where the fan tells Lindsay Whalen, “it’s nice to see you smile.”
Lynx fans were verklempt at their team’s win.
ESPNW learned five things from the Finals. That’s a pretty superficial list, so allow me:
1. Yes, close teams win championships. Members of the Lynx said they “were like sisters” and “did everything together.” Result? They seemed to know where each other was on the court at all times, and they trusted one another’s decision-making. Contrast that with the three-win-season Tulsa Shock, who yelled at each other on court all season long. I have written in this space before about the importance of team bonding.
2. You get what you pay for. Cheryl Reeve and Marynell Meadors are excellent coaches, with a lot of experience coaching women. They are not clueless and/or replacements like Nolan Richardson and Joe Bryant. Reeve and Meadors took their teams to the championship.
3. The WNBA is getting more respect and more support. Huge crowds turned out for the Finals. Pro franchises in the cities of all playoff teams stepped up to buy tickets for fans. Pro athletes and entertainers came to the games and sat courtside. Several plays were featured as “the play of the day” on NBA TV. There is hope.
4. Hard work and persevering through adversity pays off. Seimone Augustus has overcome some horrific injuries and conditions the last few years. It’s been a long time since Lindsay Whalen and the Minnesota Gophers made their NCAA run. Mama Taj is 11 days shy of her 41st birthday. Rebekkah Brunson went from unknown (to the outside world) to supastah. Atlanta’s time will come. They’re young.
5. One player does not a team make. Angel McCoughtry is a brilliant athlete, and she broke the Finals scoring record for the second year in a row. But the rest of the team has got to step up and contribute too, or they won’t be taking home the big trophy with the ball on top anytime soon.
Right now, the Lynx are being honored at the Minnesota Vikings football game. Doncha love it????