Lynx Sign Six-Time WNBA All-Star Taj McWilliams-Franklin

The Minnesota Lynx today announced the team has signed veteran free-agent center Taj McWilliams-Franklin. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are very excited to have added another player with championship experience to our roster," said Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith. "Taj has proven herself to be one of the more durable players in the WNBA over the course of her career. She will provide a physical inside presence, veteran leadership and a tough defensive mindset to our team � all of which further position the Lynx to compete for the WNBA Championship in 2011."

McWilliams-Franklin, a six-time WNBA All-Star, joins the Lynx after spending 12 seasons with six different teams, including Orlando, Connecticut, Los Angeles, Washington, Detroit and most recently New York. In 373 career games, 370 starts, the El Paso, Texas native holds career averages of 11.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 1.0 blocks in 31.4 minutes per game. The 6-2 center is entrenched in the WNBA record books, ranking 2nd all-time in total rebounds (2,631), 7th in field goals made (1,747), 7th in steals (511), 7th in blocked shots (373) and 12th � 10th among active players � in total points scored (4,456). One of the most consistent players in the WNBA throughout her career, McWilliams-Franklin has averaged over 10.0 points per game in all but two seasons (2002, 2009) and has shot over 47.0% from the floor in all but one (2003). In 34 games, all starts, with the Liberty in 2010, McWilliams-Franklin averaged 10.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in leading New York to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Second among active players in career postseason starts with 47, McWilliams-Franklin�s career includes three trips to the WNBA Finals among her eight postseason appearances. She won a WNBA Championship in 2008 with Detroit, where she played under then Shock assistant and current Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. The durable veteran holds postseason averages of 12.3 points and 7.7 rebounds in 32.1 minutes per game. In 2004 and 2005, playing with current Lynx guard Lindsay Whalen, McWilliams-Franklin averaged 13.1 points and 8.4 rebounds per game in leading the Connecticut Sun to back-to-back trips to the WNBA Finals.

"The signing of Taj McWilliams-Franklin is a special one for the Lynx,� said Reeve. �Taj has been one of the most versatile post players the WNBA has seen. She takes great pride in her defense, sets great screens, makes clutch shots and most importantly, she's a great leader. I think the world of Taj as she is the ultimate professional."

McWilliams-Franklin began her professional career in 1996 when she was drafted by the Richmond Rage of the American Basketball League (ABL) and competed for three seasons.

The Lynx, who currently own the Nos. 1 and 4 picks in the upcoming 2011 WNBA Draft, will tip off the team's 13th season of basketball in the Twin Cities with their home opener against the Los Angeles Sparks on Sunday, June 5 at 2:30 p.m. at Target Center. Lower-level tickets are available for as little as $10 a game for the 17-game home season and can be purchased by calling 612-673-8400.