The Minnesota Lynx are stretching the limits of a “home court advantage.” The team announced today that all of their potential 2017 home playoff games will be held on the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus at Williams Arena. Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul has been their temporary home during this summer’s regular season where the Lynx are 9-1 (17-2 overall). A press release cites the “Minnesota Wild 2017-2018 preseason schedule and other building events” as potential scheduling conflicts.
The news has head coach Cheryl Reeve upset.
“No, it’s not OK from the standpoint that it sucks we’re in this position.” Reeve remarked to the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand on Thursday.
Her frustration is understandable. The WNBA and women’s sports in general are perceived as being less important than their male counterparts. The best professional sports team in the Twin Cities having their potential WNBA Finals games moved to accommodate the NHL preseason is the latest example of this. Outdated social norms on women, and a reliance on maintaining the male-dominant status quo in sports allows things like this to happen.
On the surface level, the Lynx will make this work. They’ve done a wonderful job transitioning to St. Paul this summer and they’ll make the best of the situation in Dinkytown this fall. Williams Arena aka “The Barn” seats 14,625. The Lynx average attendance across five home playoff games a season ago was 13,068 tickets, so you can expect the building to be full and extremely loud.
The move to Williams Arena will be a homecoming of sorts for Lynx PG Lindsay Whalen. She’s a Gopher basketball legend. Whalen led the Gophers to their first and only NCAA final four in 2004 and held the record as the program’s all time leading scorer from 2004 to 2016. Her number was retired in 2005 and hangs in the Williams Area rafters. Winning a title on her alma mater’s court would be a fitting achievement to bookend Whalen’s career.
Playoff tickets will go on sale after the Lynx have officially clinched a playoff berth.
For more on the Lynx relocation to St. Paul this summer be sure to check out episode one of the Lynx Dynasty podcast!