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Lindsay Whalen fights nerves before season debut ... with Timberwolves

Minnesota Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen (13) moves the ball against Los Angeles Sparks guard Odyssey Sims (1) during the second half in Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 29, 2017. Gary A. Vasquez / USA TODAY Sports

LOS ANGELES — As the winningest player in WNBA history, Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen has played in thousands of basketball games over the course of in her life.

Still, in the hours leading up to her season debut as an in-game analyst, the 35-year-old former Gophers star from Hutchinson, Minn., found herself fighting back nerves.

"I'm probably more nervous now than I've been for some games that I'm playing in," Whalen said. "It's just so different."

Whalen will join the Fox Sports North broadcast team as a second in-game analyst for eight Minnesota Timberwolves games this season, making her season debut during Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Centers. Whalen, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and four-time WNBA champion, joined Fox Sports North for one Timberwolves broadcast last March.

"It's something that'll keep me busy during the offseason and also maybe it'll be a little bit of a test to see if it's something I want to do when I'm done playing," she said. "You think about it randomly seeing former WNBA players doing it right now. (Fox Sports North) came to me with the opportunity, and getting to work with Dave (Benz) and Jim (Petersen) and Marney (Gellner), people that I've known for years, it seemed like an opportunity I shouldn't pass up."

Whalen is especially looking forward to working with Petersen, a Lynx assistant coach for almost a decade before stepping down before the start of the 2017 season. He is regarded by many as the best analyst in the NBA.

"I want to learn as much as I can from him," Whalen said. "He's been a huge influence in my life, and now getting to reunite with him for a couple games is pretty cool. I want to learn and add to the broadcast team as well as I can and do as good a job as I can and go from there."

Whalen has been preparing for her season debut as a broadcaster with the same intensity that she prepares for games as a player.

"I've been watching a lot of video over the last two or three days to kind of prepare," she said. "That's what I did for the first game. I wasn't really sure what to expect so I kind of prepared as I would prepare for a game I'm playing in."

As a native Minnesotan, one of the the biggest things Whalen is focused on is not sounding so Minnesotan.

"I'll try avoid saying 'you know' so much on the broadcast," Whalen said with a smile. "That will be my main goal."

Here's the full schedule of Timberwolves broadcasts she will work this season:

• Dec. 6: at Los Angeles Clippers

• Dec. 12: vs. Philadelphia 76ers

• Jan. 1: vs. Los Angeles Lakers

• Jan. 14: vs. Sacramento Kings

• Feb. 7: at Cleveland Cavaliers

• Feb. 23: at Houston Rockets

• March 2: at Utah Jazz

• April 5: at Denver Nuggets

The Pioneer Press is a Forum News Service media partner.

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