Maddy Siegrist diary: No pizza for you — Must-click women’s basketball links — Dawn Plitzuweit talks Minnesota hoops
The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Sept. 27, 2023
(Editor’s note: Happy Basketball Wednesday! I am delighted to bring you the Maddy Siegrist 2023 WNBA Diary. Every two weeks throughout the 2023 season and into the playoffs, Maddy will be sharing 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 will be vital to our understanding of the road ahead. I hope you enjoy this as much as I am. – Howard)
It gets very loud in Las Vegas during the playoffs, but perhaps not louder than the moment I step to the free throw line. “Miss twice, get a slice!” rings out from the PA announcer and the crowd, their towels waving. I just stay within myself and use my free throw plan — up and in. I just remind myself, muscle memory, you’re a great foul shooter. I’ve got these.
It gets quieter for the second one because, you know, no pizza.
But the Vegas atmosphere has taught me so much — where we are as a team, what we still need to improve, and the ways in which my game, and connection with my teammates, have grown.
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But that crowd — the towels are everywhere. You don’t really notice the noise when you’re out on the court, but on the bench? It is loud. I’ve always loved playing in that atmosphere, though. I loved going into UConn, and having 14,000 fans booing me. It was a little different when I was the best player and everybody hated you. Here, I was just coming off the bench, so I didn’t hear them as much, but that was the comparison in my mind.
I’ve worked hard to make the most of my minutes. I was so excited to get into the game early in the fourth quarter of Game 1, and I made sure to positively impact the game as soon as I got in there. I was guarding Alysha Clark tight, and I saw the ball come from [Kelsey Plum] out of a trap and was like ‘Oh, I can get that.’ I grabbed it and suddenly I’m running the fast break going the other way. I knew if I went straight to the hoop Clark was too smart and would take the charge, so I kind of Eurostepped her and drew the foul.
“Miss twice, get a slice!” I made them both.
My teammates and I, too, are connected in ways that only come from playing together. I hit my shot attempt in Game 1, coming on a pass from Kalani [Brown], who got doubled and flipped it across the court to me. Earlier in the year, I would have needed to repeat to myself what LT [Coach Latricia Trammell] was preaching, to make myself available for the pass, space the floor for the open shot. But I just floated out there automatically.
Same thing in Game 2, and T [Teaira McCowan] didn’t even hesitate. She knew I’d be there. I think when you look for more opportunities, more opportunities are going to present themselves as well.
It was disappointing to play as well as we did in Las Vegas and not come away with a victory, but we all feel like we know what we need to do to bridge that gap. It helps that we’ve already beaten then this year, but as a competitor, you always need to believe you can win anyway. We’re just thinking about Game 3, though. One game at a time. It doesn’t do us any good to worry about winning the next three if we can’t win the next one.
The Bible verse I keep thinking about lately helps me focus smaller. “Trust in the lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” – proverbs 3:5-6. Everything God is having you experience and go through, it’s all for a purpose. And so I’m trusting in the bigger plan. During my rookie season, just trying to give myself some grace and just knowing that hopefully I have a long career and this is just one chapter in my story.
There were about six of us in the chapel ahead of Game 1, each with our own ways of connecting with our faith. For me, it is the same as in college — give me the courage and give me the strength to handle whatever is going to happen during this day. That’s always what helps me remain calm and know that I’m prepared for anything, no matter what happens. I find that that’s way more helpful than saying, like, please help me make my first shot. God doesn’t work like that.
Vegas was fun, too, because my mom came out for the games. We went to Red 8 inside the Wynn, got fried rice and edamame, and then the next night it was Carmine’s for Italian, which is my favorite — penne alla vodka and the Carmine’s Salad. We ate great and I got to show my mom Las Vegas, which she’d never seen.
Food is also playing its part right now in helping me recover from the trip back home to Dallas. Even with charters, because of how late the game ended, we didn’t get home until 4:45 this morning. Normally I wake up at 8:30, and I did today, but I was like ‘Nope, back to bed’, and I slept until 11. This helped me with my season-long struggle to not do too much on off days, give my body a chance to recover, yoga and pilates only. But the day started with the necessary Starbucks, coffee and a bacon avocado sandwich, and then a salad for lunch. I’m getting to bed early tonight.
And I’m not really letting myself think about how, if we don’t win on Friday, our time as a group comes to an end. I love my meals with Veronica [Burton], Awak [Kuier] and Lou [Lopez Senechal], and we’re all optimistic we can find a way to keep playing, and we all believe in our hearts we can do it.
I know all seasons end eventually, though. We’re just going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen Friday night.
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Five at The IX: Dawn Plitzuweit, Minnesota head coach
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