A group of Minnesota Lynx fans were ejected from the team’s win over the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night after they were heckling Wings forward Satou Sabally after she rolled her ankle.
Sabally, late in the fourth quarter of the Lynx’s 91-86 win at the Target Center in Minneapolis, landed on Lynx guard Bridget Carleton’s foot and rolled her left ankle. As she was down on the court, Sabally whipped her head around to look directly at a group of fans sitting just off the court.
According to Wings head coach Latricia Trammell, the fans were telling Sabally that they were happy she had gotten hurt.
honestly, had to laugh at Sabally blowing a kiss to the crowd pic.twitter.com/qRY2i8XjyG
— CJ Fogler account may or may not be notable (@cjzero) August 23, 2023
Sabally, after sinking all three free throws after drawing a Flagrant 1 foul, then blew a kiss to the Target Center crowd.
“I can handle a lot, and so can our players as you know,” Trammell said, . But when Satou goes down, and you have someone in the stands that yells out, ‘I’m glad you’re hurt,’ there’s no place for that. [Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve] did apologize for that. Still doesn’t make it right … This league isn’t about that. And for someone to yell out that when Satou’s on the ground, crying, and someone yells out and says, ‘I’m glad you’re hurt, and then you’re probably faking it,’ there’s a problem.”
It’s unclear how many fans were ejected, though several were walked out of the arena.
Sabally took to Twitter after the loss, too, and called the Lynx’s fan base “disgusting.” The fan’s had apparently been making similar comments throughout the entire game.
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
— Satou Sabally (@satou_sabally) August 23, 2023
Reeve said after the game that she apologized to both Trammell and Sabally for the fans’ behavior.
“Of course it gets competitive and tensions are running high on the court, but we never want to see someone getting hurt,” Lynx forward Napheesa Collier said, . “Celebrating that is super inappropriate and not something that represents us a team or as players. I did think that fan deserved to get kicked out because I don’t want that to represent who we are as Lynx.”
The Lynx, after leading for much of the contest, held on in a chaotic last minute to grab the win. Sabally’s three free throws cut the game to just three points, and then Arike Ogunbowale got it to a single point with a step-back jump shot with just less than 20 seconds left.
That, however, was the last bucket they scored. Kayla Mcbride and Collier combined for four free throws down the stretch to seal the five-point win.
Sabally led Dallas with 22 points and seven assists. Ogunbowale added 20 points and seven assists, and Natasha Howard finished with 16 points. The Wings had just six points off the bench and committed 18 turnovers. Collier finished with 29 points for Minnesota after shooting 11-of-16 from the field. McBride added 21 points, six rebounds and five assists, and Carleton added 14 points off the bench.
The two teams, who sit within just two games of each other in the standings but are more than 10 games back from the Las Vegas Aces in the Western Conference, will square off again on Thursday in Dallas.