Lynx hope winning streak, record crowd for Whalen boost attendance levels

by Dan Miller

When hometown hero Lindsay Whalen and the Connecticut Sun came to town last week, the Minnesota Lynx drew 16,227 fans into the Target Center.

The franchise-record crowd was 10,000 fans more than Minnesota’s season attendance average.

The Lynx have won five-straight games and are only two games behind Los Angeles, who hold the best record in WNBA.

The Lynx hope their success and the number of fans that watched them play in their 63-60 win over Whalen’s Sun will increase their attendance numbers.

“It was a great game all around,” Lynx coach Suzie McConnell Serio said. “I don’t know how many thousands of screaming kids there were. I hope (fans) will learn to enjoy basketball on this level.”

The Lynx averaged 7,024 in attendance last season and advanced to the second round of the WNBA playoffs. But the team’s playoff run didn’t increase attendance early this season. Before the Connecticut game, the Lynx averaged 5,790 fans per game.

Lynx point guard Helen Darling said she was excited that so many people came to watch Whalen – and the Lynx.

“I thought it was great that Lindsay came and fans came out and saw us,” she said. “I hope they can learn to love the Minnesota Lynx. They can love Lindsay when she comes back, but hopefully they come out and see us.”

Whalen scored a career-high 18 points in the first meeting between the two teams last Wednesday. But she was held to three points on 0-for-5 shooting from the field on Saturday against the Houston Comets.

Whalen will get a rematch against her hometown team tomorrow night on national television. The teams will play at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., at 7 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN2.