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WNBA star Lindsay Whalen will retire from playing to focus on coaching

Lindsay Whalen has played for the Lynx since 2010. | Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP

Lindsay Whalen, a key player on one of the WNBA’s marquee franchises over the past nine years, will retire at the conclusion of the 2018 season. She’ll move on to focus on her duties as head coach of the women’s basketball program at Minnesota, which announced her hiring in April.

An announcement was made in the Star Tribune.

“I would like to announce that after 15 seasons in the WNBA I am going to retire after the 2018 season,” Whalen said. “I would like to thank the WNBA, the Connecticut Sun, and the Minnesota Lynx for believing in me all of these years. 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, has been one of the top players in the WNBA over 15 seasons with the Connecticut Sun and Minnesota Lynx. The Sun drafted her with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2004 draft and she started all but one of her 197 games with the team.

However, it was with the Lynx where Whalen, a Minnesota native, blossomed into a major star. She has made four of her five All-Star appearances with the Lynx and partnered with Maya Moore to lead the franchise to four championships.

Before being drafted into the WNBA, Whalen was a star player for Minnesota, where she led a program that had just one NCAA Tournament appearance before her arrival into a Final Four team. Now she’s taking over as head coach of the Golden Gophers, who reached the second round of the NCAAs last year under Marlene Stollings.

The Lynx’s regular season ends Sunday at home against the Mystics. They’ve already clinched a playoff spot with a 17-14 record, so it’s possible Whalen helps Minnesota to one last WNBA championship before all is said and done.