Jace Frederick / St. Paul Pioneer Press
CHASKA, Minn. -- Sarah Burnham received a loud ovation as she buried a five-foot putt for par on No. 9 on Sunday afternoon, June 23, at Hazeltine to finish 15 over par for the tournament, good for a tie for 78th place. The ovation was a proper finish for the Maple Grove standout and Wayzata grad and represented a small sample of the support she received throughout the week playing in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in her home state.
MINNEAPOLIS — Jaylen Nowell didn’t know what to say when he got the call Thursday, June 21, so he said what he felt. “Thank you,” he told the Timberwolves when they made his NBA dream come true. The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year wasn’t expecting to receive a call from the Wolves during Thursday’s NBA Draft. Like Jarrett Culver, Nowell didn’t work out for the Wolves during the pre-draft process and had no idea they were interested. Yet the Washington guard was who Minnesota had targeted with the No. 43 pick.
MINNEAPOLIS — Gersson Rosas has said he will be aggressive and creative as the Timberwolves’ president of basketball operations. He’s already fulfilling that promise. Rosas agreed to send Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick in Thursday’s draft to Phoenix in exchange for the No. 6 overall pick. With the pick, Minnesota netted Texas Tech wing Jarrett Culver. In his post-draft media session in New York, Culver said he’s “just happy to be in the NBA and have this opportunity.”
Charlie Danielson stared at it when he woke up every morning. Written on a note, hanging from his mirror, was one of his primary goals this year: qualify for the U.S. Open. He did that in May through a sectional qualifier. He’ll tee it up in the first round of the U.S. Open on Thursday at Pebble Beach in California. Mission accomplished. “I see (that note) every day,” Danielson said. “So for me to kind of check that one off the list, it definitely feels really good.” Particularly after everything he has endured the last year.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As an eighth-grader in Hutchinson, Minn., Lindsay Whalen was the smallest player on the Tigers’ varsity girls basketball team. So she got the smallest jersey, No. 13. “And stuck with it,” said former Hutchinson girls basketball coach Andy Rostberg, currently the Tigers’ football coach. And a basketball legacy was born. Whalen stuck with that number through high school, college and her WNBA career. And at all four stops — Hutchinson, the Gophers, the Connecticut Sun and the Lynx — that No. 13 will no longer be worn.
MINNEAPOLIS -- College softball programs across the country experienced turbulence last offseason because an adjusted NCAA transfer rule that allowed players to play at another school without sitting out an entire year. Suddenly, it was open season on star players, and the Gophers looked like particularly easy prey.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Erika Smyth had to take a brief break from her on-the-job duties Saturday evening. As the Gophers recorded the historic third out in Game 2 of the Super Regional against LSU, securing the program’s first NCAA Women’s College World Series berth, Smyth, working as an analyst for the broadcast on KFXN-100.3 FM, was speechless. She looked over at play-by-play man Mike Grimm and said, “take over!” Smyth threw her arms into the air, then hugged Gophers senior associate AD Marc Ryan, all while the radio broadcast rolled on.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Back in the fall, during one of the first practices of the season, Gophers softball coach Jamie Trachsel sat her players down along the backstop and turned up the volume. “Dream On” by Aerosmith blasted out of the stadium’s speakers, and Minnesota’s coach threw out the loftiest goals, such as reaching the Women’s College World Series. “Why not you guys?” Trachsel asked her team. “Dream big. Why can’t you do that?” MaKenna Partain’s eyes welled up as the song played. “Because it’s just a cool thing to dream about,” Partain said.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Maddie Houlihan went 0 for 8 last weekend in regional play, but the Gophers overcame the senior outfielder’s offensive struggles to go 3-0. That would not have happened Friday. For the first time this postseason, ace pitcher Amber Fiser wasn’t nearly perfect. Neither was the Gophers’ defense. Minnesota needed something — or someone — to spark its offense to make up for it all. Enter Houlihan.
MINNEAPOLIS — Karl-Anthony Towns came up one spot shy of an extra $32 million. Towns finished fourth in voting among centers in All-NBA voting — only the top three vote-getters receive All-NBA honors. That’s what Towns needed this season to qualify for a supermax extension, which would have allowed him to receive up to 30% of the team’s salary cap space, as opposed to the standard 25%. So the five-year extension Towns signed last offseason, which comes into effect this season, is now worth a total of roughly $158 million, instead of $190 million.