Maddy Siegrist diary: Taking stock and saying goodbye — Coach Yo talks Mississippi hoops — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Oct. 11, 2023

(Editor’s note: Happy Basketball Wednesday! It has been an absolute honor to present the Maddy Siegrist 2023 WNBA Diary. Every two weeks throughout the 2023 season and into the playoffs, Maddy shared her thoughts on her Dallas Wings season directly with you, readers of The IX. Maddy’s ability to put everything from her on-court performance to the off-court growth of women’s basketball into broader perspective has been vital to our understanding of the road ahead. I am confident this is just the beginning of Maddy’s story, and stay tuned for some bonus offseason words from Maddy in the months ahead – Howard)

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It took me a while, packing the Jeep Cherokee as I prepared to leave Dallas following the end of our season. My family was back home in Poughkeepsie, so it was just me packing up the apartment. I don’t think I could have fit one more thing in there.

So I took what was left in a backpack and met with Greg Bibb to talk about my season, after having my exit interview with [Latricia Trammell] on Saturday. We were all in a bit of shock because of the way things ended, that close of a game, that makes it sting. At the same time, everyone in that locker room took turns speaking — first Coach, then the vets like [Arike Ogunbowale], [Natasha Howard], [Satou Sabally], everybody said something about how “we’re right there”. But even so, in your head, it’s like, you can’t believe it’s over.

It’s different from the last game in college, where for so many people it’s their last game, ever. Here, we know there won’t be the same group, but it’s still unknown, who will be together next season, who will be somewhere else. That’s only really started to hit me in the days since, thinking about people I’ve spent so much time with over these past few months.

In between those meetings, and packing, I went to Trinity Church on Sunday, where our team chaplain, Becky Hennesy, is a minister. We’d grown close, so I wanted to be sure I saw her before I left. And then: more packing.

I flew home to Newark on Monday, and my parents brought me back to Poughkeepsie — the car was shipped, with all my stuff, and didn’t get there until Friday. I walked into my room from childhood, where I hadn’t been since April, right after the draft, and all the stuff I’d collected from that night was right where I’d left it. My mom didn’t want to move or touch anything. So that took me back a few months, thinking about all that’s happened since.

I do get to decompress in a way a lot of other WNBA players don’t. For one thing, there’s my new job at Villanova — I’m a Special Assistant to the Senior Women’s Administrator, Lynn Tighe, with a lot of my work in support of women’s basketball — time with the team, with fans, with donors. I get to be around my friends, I’ll spend most of my week there, and I have the chance to go home and really get time with my family, too.

I knew this was a possibility. I remember talking to [Villanova head coach] Denise [Dillon] before I even got drafted, and we talked about a million things — overseas, my other options — and she said to me: “This is always your home. And you can always come back here.” Villanova has helped me so much. And they’ll continue to help me.

And then in a few months, I’m going to join Athletes Unlimited. This gives me a chance to rest my body and get healthy — I had some tendonitis that I had to deal with through the end of the season, and the way to get that right is rest — while I can still train in a familiar place. I am excited to play overseas someday, see what that’s like, but for this year this plan makes the most sense to me.

I’m not getting any extra TV time, though. When I’m back home in Poughkeepsie, I’m living with my youngest brother, Patrick, for the first time — other than COVID — since he was in like sixth grade. And he has control of the TV remote. But he has good taste. We watched “A Bronx Tale” the other day. No luck on “Suits”, though. He’s not a fan.

I can’t wait to get back down to Villanova and see friends like Lucy Olsen, Kylie Swider, Brooke Mullin, Mackenzie Gardler, and get some good Italian food with them. I miss them so much. Facetime is great. But it’s not the same.

And the next few months gives me more of a chance to reflect on how I’ve grown as a player. While I have goals for how to get better, I’m going to take them one step at a time. I’m going to work really hard in the offseason to get to where I want to be. But I’ve always been a driven person. I’m going to continue to work hard and get better at the things I need to get better at. And just be ready for whatever is ahead.

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Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Maddy Siegrist