Maddy Siegrist diary: Playoffs and pickleball — Must-click women’s basketball links — Sydney Colson, Theresa Plaisance talk new TV show

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Sept. 13, 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)

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We were all elated as we walked back into the locker room last Friday, after clinching our playoff berth. We’d set a couple of goals for ourselves — a top four seed and winning a playoff series — and now we felt like we were in position to accomplish both of them. The locker room got pretty loud, everyone celebrating, even though we know there’s more work to do.

I definitely feel like the playoffs are a chance to continue doing what I’ve been doing, because it seems to be working. I always get extra shots up with [Wings player development coach] Zak [Buncik] before practice, and I challenge myself after practice — I don’t leave the court until I make five, sometimes ten threes from each spot I choose on the court. It does feel like my shot release is coming quicker now, too. I’ve even adjusted my routine so as soon as I get to practice, I get a three up, so simulate the feeling of coming off the bench and contributing right away. [Editor’s note: Maddy shot 44.2 percent in her first 20 games, 56.7 percent in her last 20 games.]

I’m definitely more confident, more comfortable, after playing at such a high level for so many months, in games, in practice, you’re just automatically going to get better. Having those experiences, I feel like, has helped my skills develop. I’m continuing to grow a lot.

It’s helped to have my teammates around me, too. Our foursome for dinners has continued to be regular — me, Veronica Burton, Awak Kuier and Lou Lopez Sénéchal. And that’s helped quite a bit for all of us when we have ups and downs. When Lou was ruled out for the season, we could all sympathize, and when Veronica got the chance to start the last two games of the regular season, we celebrated together. It’s a support system within our team. We’re all about the same age, even if our situations are different. But it almost feels like, when you become close to a group, you want them to succeed even more than you want yourself to succeed.

We were back home for a few games in early September, and I definitely took advantage of the pool in my apartment complex, though it’s not like a Northeast situation where you can sunbathe for hours. It’s still Dallas, right? So I get my dip in the pool, often after practice, and then retreat to my apartment. I’ve been doing more cooking for myself there, too — I’ve mastered a feta and tomato pasta dish where you just take literally a block of feta, put some tomatoes on top, bake it, and then put it on top of the pasta. I really like that.

We get a little fancier on the road, though. We went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse when we were in Indiana, that was delicious. We’re also finding ways to unwind as we get ready for the playoffs. Veronica insisted we all come with her to Chicken and Pickle in Grand Prairie, where we played pickleball and then grabbed a meal. I could definitely see what the fuss was about, it was a lot of fun. Basketball’s still my number one sport, though.

I’ve figured out what I’m doing after the season: I’ll be working at Villanova in the Athletic Department, mostly facilitating marketing and the student athlete experience there, mostly for the women’s basketball team. It’ll be a chance to be with my family, to re-connect with all my friends who are still there. I do want to see what playing overseas is all about, too, but this will give my body a chance to rest some, too.

But first: we have the playoffs. My mom and dad will fly down Thursday night. I’ll take the same postseason routine I took into every game I played in March at Villanova. A nap is a must, I walk back to the locker room right before and I always get in prayer just before game time. There’s one Bible verse that particularly speaks to me and my circumstances right now, one that helps me navigate the struggles of a rookie season. A lot of people attribute it to Jalen Hurts, but it was originally said by Jesus in John 13:7.

“What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.”

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Five at The IX: Sydney Colson and Theresa Plaisance

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