Zierden resigns days before opener

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Lynx have promoted Jennifer Gillom to head coach after Don Zierden resigned to join Flip Saunders' staff in the NBA with the Washington Wizards.

Zierden's resignation and Gillom's promotion came Wednesday, three days before the Lynx open the WNBA season at home against the Chicago Sky.

In two seasons as coach, Zierden led the Lynx to a 26-42 regular-season record, including a 16-18 mark in 2008. He returns to the NBA after stints as an assistant with the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Detroit Pistons under Saunders, with whom he has worked for years dating to their days in the CBA with the La Crosse (Wis.) Catbirds in the early 1990s.

Gillom becomes the sixth head coach of the Lynx, who begin their 11th season. She joined Zierden's staff last year after a WNBA career that lasted seven seasons with Phoenix and Los Angeles and averages of 13.4 points and 4.5 rebounds. She won a gold medal with the U.S. women's team at the 1988 Olympics and will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame next week on her 45th birthday.