MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota Lynx and local sports fans are reveling in their first WNBA championship.
The team was honored with a downtown parade Tuesday and a rally at Target Center, with an estimated 15,000 people lined up along the route and about 5,000 fans inside the arena to cheer and hear from the players.
“I am here to see a winning team celebrate finally in Minnesota,” said Michele Hickman. “Leave it to the ladies to do it.”
As the parade made its way down Nicollet Mall, the crowds got bigger. The players got high-fives and the fans, like 14-year-old Judy Brunner, got a chance to meet their heroes up close.
“I got the autographs,” she said. “It’s really exciting. It gives me hope.”
Both players and team officials agreed the turnout for the parade in downtown Minneapolis exceeded all expectations.
The biggest cheers came for the car carrying series MVP Seimone Augustus and hometown star Lindsay Whalen.
“It’s unbelievable. I know its been crazy since we got home from the airport to the Vikings game so once again Minnesota is great,” she said.
The celebration moved onto Target Center, where another 4,500 fans gathered.
“This is a brand new experience and I am loving every second of it because of you guys,” Maya Moore said.
For many, this was a day to celebrate not just the Lynx but how far women’s sports have come.
“For these ladies to have achieved this, it really chokes me up. It’s a great day. It’s a great day for Minneapolis,” Jane Pinkerman said.
And for some younger fans it was a chance to dream.
“I really love basketball and I really look up to these girls,” Brunner said.
The Lynx swept the Atlanta Dream in the best-of-five series last week to win the title. They brought home the first World Championship for Minnesota in 20 years.
The Lynx franchise has been around for 13 years now and this is the third time they qualified for the playoffs and the first time they’ve won it all.