It was the first game the Lynx played at the Target Center since Game 5 of the 2016 Finals. You all know how that ended for the Lynx: a heartbreaking buzzer- beater to loss the Championship to the Sparks.
Let’s take a look back at how we got to this point and go back to last year:
The Target Center was closed after the last Lynx game in 2016 for a multi-million dollar renovation, which included opening up the concourse area, allowing fans to view the games from all over the arena as they walking around. They tore out all of the old seats, put brand new seats in( very comfy, by the way) and put in a brand new floor(yes, that’s right they pretty much started from scratch and poured a new floor for the Target Center.) The renovation also included a court- side club area called the Lexus Court Side Club and the 612 Lounge, for season ticket members to meet up before games. All of the restrooms were redone and updated as well.
Due to the Target Center being closed for a year, the Lynx needed a new home for the 2017 season. They were determined to try and stay close to their fan base. There were rumors of them moving 60 miles down to Rochester for the summer and playing at the Rochester Event Center, but luckily the Lynx were able to strike a deal with the Minnesota Wild and the city of St Paul, to play at the Xcel Energy Center. So the Lynx spent all summer at the X. During the summer, the Lynx saw their attendance go up 10%, even though they were playing across the river in St Paul. As hockey season neared, the Wild forced out the Lynx, as they needed the X for training camp, (even though it didn’t start until the end of September, but whatever.) So once again the Lynx were without a home, and it was PLAYOFF time!
Again rumors flowed that the Lynx may be forced to take the playoffs to Rochester as there wasn’t many other stadiums that were up to standards for the WNBA. But Glen Taylor, the owner of the Lynx, knew it was important to keep the Lynx close to home for their growing fan base. So Mr. Taylor did what he had to do to keep the Lynx in the Minneapolis/ St Paul area, which was to pay out of pocket $1 Million dollars. For what you may be asking? Well, it was for temporary AC to be put in at Williams Arena ( The Barn), at the University of Minnesota. The WNBA had standards for playing conditions and one is that the area or stadium MUST have Air conditioning, which Williams Arena did not have. So to be able to host the playoffs the temporary AC was put into place.
Williams Arena is one of the oldest arenas in college basketball. It holds just under 15,000 people and some of the seats are blocked by pillars or beams or poles, take your pick. This, along with the raised floor that Williams Arena is most known for.
It was a homecoming for starting point guard Lindsay Whalen, where thirteen years ago, she suited up for the Golden Gophers and took them and their fans on a magical run to the Final Four, the schools first and only final four appearance.
Now flash forward to May 12th, 2018:
The Lynx were back home playing in “Who’s house? “OUR House”, the Target Center. Yes it was just a preseason game against the Chicago Sky, but for a team who had two different homes last year, it was finally nice to be able to say: “WE ARE HOME”.
Fans will be able to see the newly renovated Target Center on July 28th when the WNBA world comes to Minnesota for the 2018 All Star Game.