Minnesota Coach Lindsay Whalen on the Her Hoop Stats Podcast

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This week on the Her Hoop Stats podcast, John Liddle caught up with Minnesota head coach Lindsay Whalen about former Lynx teammate Maya Moore’s criminal justice activism, having conversations about racism with her team, how the pandemic has affected the offseason, and more. 

Read the highlights from the interview below and listen to the entire episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts.

Episode Highlights

On Maya Moore helping to free Jonathan Irons:

It’s just truly remarkable when you think about what she’s been able to do on the court and when she’s put her mind to something and when she’s had a goal, what she’s been able to do. Helping Jonathan Irons be set free is no different. It’s just what Maya does. She sets her mind to something and she will do anything until it happens. What a moment. Just truly remarkable what can happen when you do the right thing and you’re persistent and you pursue justice and fairness. Boy, I would’ve really liked to have seen the celebration as kind of a fly on the wall as someone who obviously has gotten to know Maya very well. 

On continuing the conversation about racial inequality in America:

I think now it’s how do you keep the conversation going? How do we put some words into actions to really enact change and create change? Of course right away it was incredibly sad and tragic and everybody saw what happened in the video. At that point, I had three players on campus and I was just making sure if they were going to protests, that they were safe, that they felt supported and just trying to listen as much as possible. Now, our players are back. They’re in voluntary workouts right now. As a program, we’re going to try to, weekly, have a conversation on what are some things we can do? How can we use our platform? Who can we learn from as far as just continuing the social justice conversation and not just let it go by the wayside? Nobody wants that.

On the differences between last offseason and this one for her team:

Basically since the coronavirus hit and we’ve all been in quarantine, we would’ve had our postseason tournament. We probably would’ve gone to the NIT this year. We would’ve at least been invited, I think. Then we would’ve taken some time and had postseason workouts in April. May would’ve been kind of downtime. June would be workouts and also camps, and then July would be recruiting. We’d be on the road for most of July. It’s been totally different. We just got our players back last week. They’re doing voluntary workouts until the 20th, and then we can work them out starting on the 20th per NCAA rules. All of our recruiting, everything has been done virtually. A lot of Zoom calls, and a lot of that. That’s kind of been the way of life for everybody, as well as FaceTime and on the phone and texting and emailing. All of that’s really come into play as we’re just in this virtual world. Everything is done virtually now. Totally different. Complete 180, however you want to put it. My first offseason as a coach, I was playing in the WNBA. Last offseason, I guess would’ve been kind of a normal [one]. Now we’re in coronavirus, so it’s been interesting. It’s been an interesting start as far as my offseasons have gone as a head coach in college.

On how she’ll handle practices once the coaching staff can be involved in workouts:

Right now in Minnesota, you’re able to have sport workouts with 25 people or less. If we had our whole team, we’d be fine to be able to do that because we have 14 players on the team, four coaches, some managers, and support staff. We would stay under that 25-person cap. But what we’ve decided to do is keep them [with] their roommates as well. There’s 14 of them, so let’s say they’re in four different apartments. What I’ve decided to do for these two-and-a-half weeks of voluntary [workouts] and then the first three weeks of where we can work them out is keep them in two separate groups, and those groups coincide with their rooming situation. If in one group, someone would come down with symptoms or start to not feel well or test positive, then, essentially, those roommates in that workout group would be shut down but the other one should be able to proceed in theory. So [that means] a lot of small group work. The first three weeks that I’m with them, I’ve got them in small groups. We’re going to ease back into it. … We’ll work up to full team by the end of summer. We’ll just go from there and see how it goes, but that’s the plan. That’s what I’ve got laid out, and hopefully we can execute it and keep everybody healthy and keep moving forward.


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Thanks for reading the Her Hoop Stats Newsletter. If you like our work, be sure to check out our stats site, our podcast, and our social media accounts on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram. You can also buy Her Hoop Stats gear, such as laptop stickers, mugs, and shirts!