Nate Tibbetts is set to become the highest-paid coach in WNBA history with the Phoenix Mercury, which prompted one WNBA star to call out the pay discrepancies between players and coaches.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad coaches are getting paid,” Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier wrote on social media. “But it’s kinda crazy they’re making 4 times more than the highest paid players.”

For the 2023 season, Indiana Fever guard Erica Wheeler was the highest-paid player in the league, with a salary of $242,154. In 2024, a trio of players are set to lead the league with salaries of $241,984: Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale, Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd and Chicago Sky guard Kahleah Copper.

Collier had a salary of $202,154 for the 2023 season. The average salary for WNBA players in the 2022 season stood at $102,751.

Las Vegas Aces head coach Becky Hammon, who was the highest-paid coach in the WNBA before Tibbetts, reportedly earns $1 million per season. While the exact terms of the deal have not been reported, he is set to outearn Hammon, ESPN reported Monday.

Collier is not the first player who has called out salary issues in the WNBA. Las Vegas Aces guard Kelsey Plum pointed out the pay gap with the NBA after the 2022 season, saying: “We’re not asking to get paid what the men get paid. We’re asking to get paid the same percentage of revenue shared.”

The honeymoon is over for Aerial Powers and the Minnesota Lynx.

One season after becoming a mainstay in the starting lineup, the 29-year-old forward is averaging just 9.6 minutes per game. When one social media user wondered about her absence from a recent game, Powers responded that she looked forward to her fans coming to see her play next season “with another organization.”

Powers signed with the Lynx in 2021. While injuries marred her first season in Minnesota, she started 31 games in 2022 and led the team in scoring with 14.42 points per game.

In 2023, though, her role has been limited. After missing four weeks with a sprained ankle, she has played just seven of 12 games since her return on July 20. She scored 12 points in 16 minutes on Aug. 20, but then did not play at all in Minnesota’s Aug. 22 win against the Dallas Wings.

She will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Per Her Hoops Stats, she is earning $201,984 in 2023.

“That’s a lot of money to pay someone who you’re not playing,” WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes said on the latest episode of her “Queens of the Court” podcast.

Swoopes tried to make sense of Powers’ limited minutes for the Lynx.

“I just feel like there’s a lot going on there, which is weird, because they could use her,” she said. “When I look at that, I’m like, Aerial Powers on one wing, Diamond Miller on another wing, with Napheesa Collier — make it make sense, because I don’t understand it.”

Powers discussed her situation further on a recent Twitch live stream, saying of her free agency: “Everybody knows I ain’t staying here.”

She also said “a few teams” pursued her ahead of the Aug. 7 trade deadline, but “everybody” has to agree in order for a trade to go through. As it stands, she remains with the Lynx, who are jostling for a playoff spot.

A close contest between the Minnesota Lynx and Dallas Wings ended in chaos on Tuesday, as the Lynx’s 91-86 win was overshadowed by ejections, heated exchanges and condemning social media posts.

Wings forward Satou Sabally twisted her ankle with 25 seconds left after landing on Bridget Carleton’s foot following a shot attempt. It was ruled a flagrant foul, as Carleton didn’t give Sabally space to land, and Carleton was ejected from the contest for her second flagrant of the game.

As Sabally sat on the ground nursing her ankle, several Lynx fans behind the bench cheered for the injury, which Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve condemned after the game.

One fan was ejected, and Reeve apologized to Wings coach Latricia Trammell as it happened.

“There’s no place for that,” Reeve later told reporters. “I was disappointed. I apologized. Our fans are passionate. You just can’t cross the line of celebrating someone’s injury. We wouldn’t want that. We apologize that that happened to Satou.”

Sabally responded in the moment by blowing a kiss to the crowd after knocking down a free throw. When fans continued to yell, she cupped her hand around her ear in a “I can’t hear you” motion.

At least one other person was escorted out of the arena by security before the game ended.

After the game, Sabally took to social media to address the situation.

“Disgusting fan base in Minny. The Schadenfreude to see someone get hurt can’t be a WNBA culture. Terrible words from the sidelines all game long,” she wrote.

The fan behavior started long before the last 25 seconds of the game, according to Dallas guard Crystal Dangerfield, who played for Minnesota in 2020.

“I’m shocked,” she said. “We have fans saying outrageous things to players. Wishing bad on someone about an injury is out of pocket. It started at the beginning of the game, and it needs to be taken care of. And it’s not just here (in Minnesota). It happens other places as well.”

The controversy overshadowed what was an important win for the Lynx. They improved to 16-17, tying them with the Atlanta Dream for the fifth-best record in the league. The victory also avenges a 40-point loss to Dallas back in July, and marks Minnesota’s first win over the Wings in three meetings this season.

The teams play again on Thursday, this time in Dallas.

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

The Minnesota Lynx have signed coach Cheryl Reeve to a five-year contract extension, the team announced Thursday.

Reeve, 56, also has been elevated from general manager to president of basketball operations. She has served as head coach of the Lynx for 13 seasons and as general manager for the last five seasons.

“Minnesota has been a great home to me and my family and I simply love being a part of the Twin Cities community,” Reeve said in a statement. “The Lynx fanbase is the best in all of the WNBA and I look forward to building on the successes we have had as an organization.”

The three-time WNBA coach of the year has led the Lynx to four titles in 13 seasons. The first came in her second season in Minnesota in 2011, and the most recent came in 2017.

Her 41 playoff wins stand as the most of any coach in WNBA history. She also has the highest playoff winning percentage among WNBA coaches (.661), with a 41-21 record in the postseason.

While the Lynx missed the playoffs in 2022 for the first time since 2010, the 11-year run of playoff berths in between made Reeve the only coach to accomplish that feat with one franchise.

“Cheryl’s devotion to growing the game and our league is extraordinary, and we have some exciting seasons ahead of us,” Lynx owner Glen Taylor said.

Reeve started her career in 1988 as an assistant coach for La Salle, her alma mater. After two years she became an assistant coach at George Washington, then five years later she became the head coach at Indiana State.

In 2001, she made the jump to the WNBA as an assistant coach for the Charlotte Sting, and she spent nine years as an assistant with the Sting, Cleveland Rockers and Detroit Shock before arriving in Minnesota in 2010.

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Everything in life comes to an end, eventually.

Perhaps no one knows that better than a mortician.

And a mortician also knows that we can’t always control when or how that ending occurs.

Sylvia Fowles, WNBA legend and funeral director, chose when her career ended. She decided that this was her perfect moment to exit the game, something she’s never wavered on. But how it ended — that was imperfect.

Her final contest included misses that caused her to scream in frustration, early fouls that sent her to the bench, and a comeback that came up short and eliminated the Lynx from playoff contention.

But an anticlimactic end doesn’t take away from the beauty of her career.

Fowles and Napheesa Collier, who returned to the court 2 1/2 months after giving birth to play with her teammate one last time. (Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

In a perfect world, someone as impactful as Fowles has been to the WNBA would go out with a playoff run, maybe even a title. The Lynx, however, had their worst season since 2010, going 14-22 and bringing the franchise’s league-leading 11-game playoff streak to an end.

The season was rocky, but Fowles was stoic, putting up consistent numbers — she averaged 14.4 points and 9.8 rebounds per game — while maintaining a consistent attitude to match.

“Syl is awfully special,” coach Cheryl Reeve said following the season-ending 90-83 loss at Connecticut on Sunday. “I might have been really resentful through most of the season if I was Sylvia Fowles. I might have been really pissy. Syl has a hell of a lot more love in her body than most of us.”

The 15-year WNBA veteran poured that love into her teammates, coaches, fans, and even opposing players this season. She spent countless hours knitting personalized hats for her Lynx teammates, selecting plants for her coaches and putting together gift baskets for the trainers and staff.

Prior to her final game against the Sun, she stole moments out of warm-ups to give her goodbyes to opposing players.

Jonquel Jones approached Fowles, and the two engaged in conversation, full of smiles and laughs. When they embraced, one hug wasn’t good enough, and Jones pulled her back in for a second.

Then, Fowles made her way to Bria Hartley, who after injuring her ACL earlier this season was sporting crutches and a hefty brace. Fowles put her hands on the injured knee, rubbing it gently as if to invoke healing powers.

Fowles’ final game provided a glimpse of the person she’s been throughout her career, an identity Reeve knows well. Since Fowles joined the Lynx seven years ago, she and Reeve have won two WNBA championships together in 2015 and 2017.

When the coach subbed her star player out at the end of the game, the two embraced on the sidelines. It lasted for 10 seconds, heavy with emotion, as though they were both trying to capture eight seasons of memories in one hug.

“There will never be another Sylvia Fowles,” Reeve said, wiping tears from her eyes. “And it’s not just the 4,000-plus rebounds, which is awfully impressive. But it’s the way she did it. It’s the love she has for people, for the organization, and the love for me. Life is going to suck without her, big time. She’ll still be in my life, no doubt about it, but we won’t get to share in the battles, or the side eye that she gives me, or the suck the teeth that she gives me. I’m going to miss that.”

Fowles ended her career with a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double performance against the Sun. (Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It’s easy to get caught up in Fowles the person, but Sunday was also a reminder of the center’s unparalleled basketball legacy.

In her final game, she became the only player in WNBA history to record 4,000 regular-season rebounds. She also ended her career as the leading rebounder for both of the organizations she played for — the Lynx and the Sky. Fowles is a two-time WNBA champion, securing Finals MVP honors on both occasions, an eight-time All-Star, and the WNBA’s career leader in field goal percentage (59.7). At LSU, she became the program’s all-time leading rebounder (1,570), and also topped the record list for blocked shots (321) and free throws made (494).

And on Sunday, Fowles recorded her 193rd double-double, despite a disjointed game in which she sat on the bench for extended periods due to foul trouble.

While Fowles has become known for her gentle spirit and generosity, she expressed frustration following her final performance, showing the competitive fire that propelled her to greatness.

Despite leading the league in double-doubles this season and finishing her final game with 12 rebounds, 10 points, two steals and a block, Fowles still thought she should have done more. She still wanted to be better for her team.

“I was a little annoyed with myself because I had a s—ty three quarters,” she said. “I felt like I did my teammates a disservice.”

That single sentence is a cocktail of emotions. The love, the competitiveness, the sadness, the legacy all wrapped into one.

“I think that is something I will do later,” Fowles said of processing those feelings. “Most of my emotion right now is just to be grateful.”

And though Fowles has kept out of the spotlight for most of her career, the 36-year-old was glad she stepped into it this season.

“I appreciate the love that I got from the fans this year,” she said. “Put things into a different perspective for me. I never got that over my first 14 years of playing, so to see that all come together in my last year, I’m very grateful for that as well.”

But no matter how much love Sylvia Fowles received from the league and its fans, it still doesn’t compare to the amount of love she’s given over the years.

Like Reeve said, “Syl has a hell of a lot more love in her body than most of us.”

Eden Laase is a Staff Writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @eden_laase.

Mike Thibault is apologizing for his actions prior to the Washington Mystics’ game against Minnesota on Sunday, in which Thibault said that he was “tired of hearing” about travel issues within the league.

“It happens to every team. And I get it. Every team would like to come in feeling fully refreshed,” he said. “But they got here last night. They didn’t play yesterday. I know it’s a long day. But everybody goes through that.

“I’d like to feel sorry for them but I’m sorry I don’t.”

Thibault also made a crying motion with his hands while answering the question. On Sunday, he tweeted out his apologies.

“My apologies to @LynxCoachReeve and @minnesotalynx for my reaction to the question asked of me at my pre-game press conference today,” Thibault wrote on Twitter. “It’s not who I am and I should have just answered the question without the extra dramatics.”

Prior to the game, Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve had called out the league’s travel schedule. The team played back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday before flight issues on Saturday delayed their arrival in Washington D.C. until midnight. The team was scheduled to tip off against the Mystics at 3 p.m. They later lost 70-57.

Reeve said on Saturday she contacted the league when the team’s issue began, but there was no response initially. When the league finally responded, it was to suggest flight alternatives. By that time, the team had already figured it out.

“I’ve been in this league a long time, and if you do this long enough, you’re going to be in these situations,” Reeve said. “I think when it comes down to the challenges that occur, it’s all about leadership and your ability to collectively work through that situation. Probably the greater disappointment was the lack of response. From our standpoint, there was no communication with the Minnesota Lynx. It was an epic fail.

“It was leaked to me later on there was communication with Washington. I alerted the league that we potentially had a problem brewing because I didn’t want them to find out on social media. I don’t think it’s acceptable that I don’t get a response. I can’t control how other people treat us … I thought we deserved more respect than that. We’re not happy that there was no consideration given to us.”

On Sunday, Reeve addressed Thibault’s response and apology.

“All good, Coach,” she wrote. “We have years of respect behind us — this situation won’t change that.”

A number of the league’s biggest stars have called out travel policies this season, as both COVID-19 and flight delays have plagued teams. All are calling for changes to the WNBA’s commercial flight policy.

The league has said it will charter flights for the WNBA Finals.

Cheryl Reeve is speaking out on her team’s travel schedule, criticizing the quick turnaround the Minnesota Lynx faced between Thursday and Friday’s games.

The Lynx played a home game Thursday at 7 p.m. CT before traveling to Indiana in the early morning for a Friday night contest in the Eastern time zone.

“I am very disappointed from a scheduling standpoint what our league has done with these back-to-backs,” Reeve told reporters ahead of Minnesota’s matchup against the Fever. “I don’t think it’s a level playing field. We have four teams that have no back-to-backs. We have multiple teams that have a back-to-back where they stay in the same city with no travel.”

Travel accommodations have been a topic of conversation in the WNBA, with players lamenting the use of commercial flights. Breanna Stewart and Diana Taurasi have spoken out on the issue, saying that flying commercial increases the players’ exposure to COVID-19.

Minnesota pulled out an 87-77 win Friday against Indiana despite the tight turnaround, with Sylvia Fowles notching 22 points and 12 rebounds for the double-double.

The Lynx will stay on the road, getting just a day off before the team takes on the Mystics in Washington on Sunday.


As Title IX turns 50, Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is reflecting on how the landmark legislation changed her life.

“I was just a lover of sports. Now, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve thought about all the other [women] who didn’t have the same opportunities,” Reeve told Kent Youngblood of The Star Tribune. “There is no question that, without Title IX, I’m not sitting here as a professional basketball coach.”

The 1972 law prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools that receives funding from the federal government.

Reeve, 55, has had an illustrious athletic career, playing softball in high school before attending La Salle on a partial scholarship, where she broke several records on the school’s basketball team.

At La Salle, Reeve also jump-started her coaching career, moving on to the WNBA in 2001 as an assistant with the Charlotte Sting.

“I thank God I wasn’t born 20 years prior,” Reeve said in The Star Tribue. “Because I would have been in jail for the way they treated women, the lack of opportunities.”

Reeve remembers driving to Chicago for the league’s pre-draft combine, where she met Sting head coach Anne Donovan, who offered her the assistant job for $5,000.

Moving between Charlotte and Cleveland, Reeve navigated teams being disbanded and franchises teetering on the edge of folding in her early years in the WNBA.

“I was very close to not being in the WNBA anymore,” Reeve said. “I had to make a decision. Each season was met with, I didn’t know if the team would be there if the league would be there. It’s hard, because your family has to hear about your hardships. But I distinctly remember going, ‘I’m in this thing. I’m going to go down with the ship if it goes down. Just do it. Obviously, things got better.”

In 2006, her circumstances changed, with Reeve signing on as Bill Laimbeer’s assistant with the Detroit Shock. Together, they led the team to two WNBA championships before Reeve was appointed the head coach of the Minnesota Lynx in 2009.

Though Reeve is grateful for living in a post-Title IX world, she still acknowledges there is more to do.

“I hope it means ownership,” Reeve said. “That’s probably what I would set my sights on. That I’m involved, still involved, but on a grander level. Impacting and being a participant in the opportunities that are available.”

The beginning of Cheryl Reeve’s head coaching career with Team USA got off to a flying start on Friday, with the U.S. team taking down Belgium 84-75.

An assistant coach since 2014, Reeve was named head coach of the team in December 2021 and will serve in the post through the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Kelsey Plum led the way for Team USA with 16 points, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 4-for-4 from the free throw line. In her national team debut, Brionna Jones added 14 points and six rebounds while Chelsea Gray had 10 points and eight assists.

Plum said after that she thinks that playing 3×3 basketball, which she won a gold medal for at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, has helped her game.

“I think 3×3 has helped me defensively a ton,” said Plum. “I think with 3×3, there’s not a ton of help. You’re pretty much on an island a lot of times. You have to give significant ball pressure to take time off the clock, and so that’s helped me I think just trying to stay in front of people and applying pressure.

“We’ve had great effort all week, coach talked about it all week. We’ve had tremendous effort defensively, be it a lot of deflections, a lot of turnovers, but it’s because we were playing really hard. That’s the goal and it was fun.”

Recent Chicago Sky signee and 2019 WNBA Finals MVP Emma Meesseman nearly scored a triple-double for Belgium, scoring 15 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

Cheryl Reeve was announced as the next head coach of the United States women’s national basketball team on Wednesday. The longtime Minnesota Lynx head coach and general manager called her appointment an “honor” during the introductory press conference.

Reeve said she was humbled to be considered among greats (and former U.S. coaches) like Van Chancellor, Geno Auriemma and Dawn Staley, calling Team USA “one of the greatest sports dynasties ever.”

“It’s the penultimate in coaching — ask any coach. Only a few people get the opportunity,” Reeve said Wednesday.

Reeve has been a part of the USA Basketball system since 2014. As an assistant coach, she’s helped the team win two Olympic gold medals in 2016 and 2020, two FIBA World Cup titles in 2014 and 2018 and the FIBA AmeriCup crown in 2019. With Reeve on the coaching staff, Team USA has amassed a 57-4 record and gone a perfect 38-0 in official FIBA competitions.

“Cheryl Reeve is a coach who has been successful on multiple levels of the game,” retired Gen. Martin Dempsey, USA Basketball chairperson, said in a release. “With five international gold medals as an assistant on the coaching staff of our USA National Teams and a combined six WNBA championships as a head coach and an assistant, USA Basketball believes there is no one more qualified than Cheryl to follow Dawn Staley and continue the legacy of success that defines this program.”

The first acting WNBA coach to lead Team USA since Chancellor, Reeve has won four WNBA titles and made two other WNBA Finals appearances in her 11-year career with the Lynx. She’s also been named WNBA Coach of the Year three times, most recently in 2020. Under Reeve, the Lynx own the longest active playoff streak in the league.

After the Tokyo Olympics, when Staley said she would be stepping down as head coach, she recommended Reeve as her successor. At the time, Reeve said she thought Staley should stick around, but if she were to leave, whoever replaced Staley should be a WNBA coach. When asked about those statements on Wednesday, Reeve was quick to joke that her dad “didn’t raise a dummy.”

“If Dawn didn’t want to do it anymore, I wanted to make sure I had a shot at it,” Reeve said. “I just thought that it would be a case with professional players mostly that we have some good pro coaches and I wanted to make sure that we were front and center for these opportunities.”

Reeve understands the expectations that come with being head coach of the U.S. national team. She’ll lean on her experience as she looks to lead Team USA to an eighth straight Olympic gold medal in Paris in 2024.

“I’m ready for it,” she said. “We’ve had expectations here in Minnesota for a long time. We meet those expectations with the way that we conduct our business, and I plan to do the same thing for USA Basketball.

“The culture matches what we preach here in Minnesota, so it was an easy thing to be a part of. The sacrifice that everyone makes for the common good, to bring home a gold medal for our country, there’s nothing greater than that. To be selected as someone to lead that, it’s a great honor.”

The roster selection process will be challenging, with so much talent in the WNBA and coming through the pipeline. Past choices have led to controversy, such as the decision to leave Nneka Ogwumike off of the 2020 Olympic team, which is still receiving criticism.

Reeve, 55, said Wednesday that she’s ready to face the storm head on.

“I just feel so excited to get started. I can’t wait,” she said. “We have a tremendous amount of talent in the WNBA and the college ranks, if you’re watching. There’s a lot of talent. I know there’ll be some new faces.”

“I’m still working on Sue,” she joked. “See if maybe she can still be one of our old faces. Not much luck so far, but we’ve still got time.”