Minnesota Lynx point guard Lindsay Whalen, a four-time WNBA champion, announced Monday she will retire at season's end after 15 years in the league.
"I would like to thank the WNBA, the Connecticut Sun, and the Minnesota Lynx for believing in me all of these years," Whalen said in a statement, referencing the two franchises she played for. "I look forward to the next chapter in my basketball career and wish my Lynx coaches and teammates all of the best in the future."
Whalen, 36, already has her next job: She was named women's basketball coach at her alma mater, Minnesota, in April. She led the Gophers to the 2004 Women's Final Four, after which she was the No. 4 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the Sun.
Whalen played six seasons for Connecticut, helping the Sun reach the 2004 and 2005 WNBA Finals. But the Hutchinson, Minnesota, native always had a wish to return home, and that happened for 2010 as the Sun traded her to the Lynx in order to get the No. 1 draft pick (Tina Charles) that year.
The Lynx didn't make the playoffs in 2010, but they ended up with the top pick in 2011, Maya Moore. And since then, Minnesota has made the WNBA Finals six times, winning four titles.
Whalen got to end last season on her college home court, Williams Arena, winning a championship in Game 5 of the WNBA Finals. The Lynx were playing at Williams while Target Center was being renovated, and it was the perfect venue for Whalen.
The 5-foot-9 point guard is Minnesota's career assists leader with 2,337, third all-time in the WNBA behind Seattle's Sue Bird and Ticha Penicheiro, who is retired. In the playoffs, Whalen has an additional 335 assists.
Whalen has averaged 11.5 points, 4.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds in her WNBA career, having appeared in 477 regular-season games. Her peak season was 2013, when she averaged 14.9 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds as the Lynx won the WNBA title. Whalen also has appeared in 81 playoff games, with averages of 11.7 points, 4.1 assists and 3.4 rebounds.
The Lynx still have three games left in the regular season: Tuesday at home against Chicago, Friday at Connecticut, and Sunday at home against Washington. Minnesota already has qualified for the playoffs.
"I feel so fortunate to have been on the sidelines for so many of her wins," Lynx coach and general manager Cheryl Reeve said. "Lindsay's will to win made her special, along with always putting her team and teammates first. I will always cherish the times we spent together over the last eight years bringing championships to her home state of Minnesota."