The Minnesota Lynx will play all potential 2017 WNBA Playoffs home games at the University of Minnesota’s Williams Arena. The Lynx have won three WNBA titles, most recently in 2015. Last season they made their sixth WNBA Finals appearance under head coach Cheryl Reeve. The team is moving from the Xcel Energy Center, its temporary home during Target Center’s renovation, to accommodate the Minnesota Wild preseason schedule and other events.
"We are excited to partner with an amazing organization like the Minnesota Lynx and be a small part of its postseason run by hosting the team's postseason games at Williams Arena," said University of Minnesota Athletics Director Mark Coyle. "Williams is one of the most historic and unique venues in all of basketball, and our programs know it creates one of the greatest home court advantages in the sport. With the stands filled with dedicated Lynx fans, the Barn will provide a home court advantage like no other for what we hope will be another WNBA championship run for the Lynx and the entire state of Minnesota."
The eight teams with the highest winning percentages will make the playoffs, seeded in accordance with their records. The top two teams receive a bye into the semifinals, while the next two receive a bye to the second round. The first two rounds are single elimination and the next two follow a best-of-five format. The top seeds will host games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 5.
Playoff games at Williams Arena would be a homecoming for Lynx veteran guard Lindsay Whalen, who led the Gophers to the 2004 Final Four. Whalen has played for all three of the franchise’s championship teams. Other Gophers in the past have played for the hometown team, including WNBA champions Janel McCarville and Shae Kelley, and Emily Fox was drafted by the Lynx in 2009.
“As a former Golden Gopher, I am excited to once again play at my alma mater,” said Whalen. “I have a lot of fond memories and just being over there is going to be cool. It’s such a great campus. I love the U of M, so I’m looking forward to it. We have the best fans and we’re all looking forward to seeing them over at the U.”
The University of Minnesota last hosted the Lynx on court for a 2012 exhibition game at the Sports Pavilion. The Lynx had previously played a 2005 preseason game and 2007 regular season game at Williams Arena. The two teams have maintained a relationship, as Reeve and Whalen have attended Gopher women’s practices on several occasions, and coach Marlene Stollings and the Gophers have attended Lynx games as a team.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public at a later date after the Lynx have clinched a playoff berth. The Lynx have also announced that they will accept financial responsibility for temporary air conditioning systems at Williams Arena.
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