The Minnesota Lynx’s championship win Wednesday ties them with Phoenix and Detroit-Tulsa-and-now Dallas Shock with three titles each in league history, one behind no-longer-around Houston, who won the WNBA’s first four championships.
“Do you think three times make a dynasty?” asked Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges to the appreciative crowd inside her city’s downtown arena midday Friday to fete the newly crowned Lynx. She then turned to the team standing behind her on stage and answered her own question: “I think you are a dynasty now,” she declared.
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“You’re the best of Minnesota,” proclaimed Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who praised the state’s winningest professional team in this decade — only the Minnesota Gophers women’s hockey team has won more titles than the Lynx.
But because they’re women, this recognition isn’t widely known, said Debbie Montgomery, an original Lynx season ticket holder since the first season.
“They aren’t respected in sports as women athletes,” Montgomery added. “These women to me are at the same level as the men with the passion of their game. They are role models for our young people… They are great athletes.”
The former St. Paul city councilmember, as well as the team’s longest continuous beat writer, have seen the franchise’s lows and now mighty highs since its debut in 1999. “I’m so glad we got [Sylvia] Fowles,” noted Montgomery. “We haven’t had a true, inside center since the beginning to keep their back to the basket and rebound. That was a piece we were missing, and it really helped out.”
“I hope they can stay together,” said Montgomery on the team’s nucleus. “They are getting older, and these younger teams — Phoenix and Chicago — are young, fast teams. These are a great group of women representing the sports world and very representative of Minnesota.”
“I’m glad to be here — three-peat!” exclaimed Montgomery. “I can’t be any prouder.”
Post-parade wrap up
After Wednesday’s win, Seimone Augustus talked about how it felt to win a championship with her former college teammate, Sylvia Fowles — both of them went to LSU and reached the Final Four several times but not a championship.
The 2015 WNBA Finals MVP on Friday shared her thoughts: “The players we are now were not the same as we were in college. It meant a lot and brought back old memories to be a part of her legacy.”
Packin’ and leavin’
It’s not unusual that most WNBA players head overseas to continue their year-round hoopin’ — reserve guard Anna Cruz slipped away before the celebration was over because she had a plane to catch.
Likewise, Fowles will play in Beijing, China. Shae Kelley leaves for Poland next week. Rebekkah Brunson will be in Italy. “I played there a couple of years ago. It’s beautiful. They have some spaghetti but I think it is a little better than [here]. They’ve got good food,” said the forward.
“My house,” answered Lindsay Whalen when asked where her off-season travels will take her. “I’ll be around at Gophers, T-Wolves…I’ll be around, resting.”
“I’m going home to Chicago, then off to Poland,” added forward Devereaux Peters.
Maya Moore said that she won’t head for China until later this year. “I get a chance to spend time with family and friends in the States. I haven’t been at my home back in Atlanta for over a week. I’m looking forward to having Thanksgiving [here] for once in four years,” noted the forward.
Oh, what a night!
Moore and Kelley gave their thumbs-up to the three-hour post-championship winning private concert by Prince, given in their honor at his Paisley Park digs. “Oh, my goodness,” gushed Kelley. “I’m right there on the stage [with] Prince, and he goes from guitar to piano. It was amazing. He put on a performance for us!”
“It was a musical experience,” said Moore of Prince. “What we were able to do in front of our fans,we were able to be the fans for that evening, to sit and enjoy one of Minnesota’s finest.”
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Charles Hallman is a contributing reporter and award-winning sports columnist at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.