Introducing Maddy Siegrist’s 2023 WNBA Diary — Talking Toronto WNBA game — Must-click women’s basketball links
Dallas Wings rookie will be sharing her story with The IX all season long
(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, Maddy will be sharing her thoughts 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 will. – Howard)
By Maddy Siegrist, as told to Howard Megdal
The thing they never tell you about becoming a WNBA player is how food shopping changes.
A few weeks ago, I was living with my closest friends in a dorm room, and the refrigerator was all of ours. So when I’d go to the grocery store, I’d be like ‘Well I’ll just get these, someone else will eat them.’ But now? It’s like, ‘Well what do you want to get?’ Because it’s just you.
I lived in a hotel for the first week — it was nice — but I really loved when I got to move into the apartment, my first one. I got a two-bedroom, because my mom came down with me right after I got drafted and reported to camp, and my dad came down and helped me move into the apartment.
I’ve decorated the place just a little bit. It came furnished, but I added three touches: a picture of my teammates, a picture of my family, and a poster that reads: “You can do all things through Christ, who strengthens you.”
I’m also driving a new car. I’d been driving a 2012 GMC that I bought from my grandpa when I was 16, and it has a lot of miles on it, and my dad was like: “Maddy, I really don’t think you should bring the GMC down because it’s probably gonna… break.” So he said I should buy a new car, and he and mom would pay the down payment, and then I’d pay every month and it’d be my first real car. He did all the research — I’m not a car person — and we decided on a Jeep Cherokee, with the color a really cool gray I Iike. As we went to pick it up, I kept thinking how weird it was: that playing basketball is my job now, and it lets me buy things just because I’m playing it.
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In addition to my parents, my main group day-to-day has been the other rookies: Lou [Lopez Sénéchal], Abby Meyers and Ashley Joens. The four of us set up a group chat immediately. We all moved in a pack — one of us needed water, so we’d all go. I came in thinking it was going to be terrible, that the vets would all be mean, just so I would be prepared, but it wasn’t like that at all.
I knew Veronica [Burton] a little bit because her sister [Kendall] played at Villanova, and she helped me with things like when to show up. Even that was tricky at first. Coach [Latricia Trammell] was like, “Training room opens at 8.” But in hindsight, you don’t really need to get there until 8:30 unless you have a big, elaborate treatment. And that gives you enough time to shoot before lift, before individual groups, it still gets you enough time to do what you have to.
But the first day? I was there at 7:20, because I didn’t want to be late. I was like, what if there’s traffic? I live eight minutes away. But you never know, you’re just thinking all these things in your head.
At practice, it’s very structured. I start shooting around the basket, but within five minutes they have me out beyond the three-point line. It’s very efficient. I do most of my assistant work with Brandi [Poole] and then Coach Zak [Buncik]. Then one of the managers rebounds for me after, I try to get up 50-to-100 shots at each of my spots.
Coach [Trammell] is really positive and it’s really exciting to see. It’s just the way she is — she’s been so informative and constantly checking in, which is really helpful. The cool thing is, it’s her first year, too, as a head coach in Dallas. So we’re kind of in the same boat.
My whole gameday routine is different now, though. All that I’ve kept is the naps — got those in for both preseason games. You’re out there shooting for ten minutes by yourself, and then you’re in the locker room. So I would check in with the other rookies, see what they were doing. Then I got to pray — chapel time means you get to pray with the other team, the players you’re about to play against, which was cool. But I’m still figuring out what to do with all the downtime, since I nap after shootaround at 11, but we aren’t getting to the arena until around 4 when the game starts at 7.
Then the cuts came, and that was really hard. We were talking about it, the four of us rookies, like “someone’s gonna go.” [Editor’s note: Abby Meyers was waived on Monday.] People tell you that going into the WNBA but I don’t think until you’re there you realize it fully: it’s so hard. [Editor’s note: Maddy didn’t take it for granted that she’d make the team when we spoke. I told her that while I didn’t possess any inside information on this front, I was pretty sure she would.]
I called my dad after the first day of practice and was like, “I’m not sure. It might not work out.” Because you’re just thinking in your head, you don’t even want to have a bad day. Camp is so quick. For me, your confidence in your ability, whether you have a great day, a bad day, it doesn’t waver. But knowing how hard it is makes you uneasy.
There are little reminders that this is my life now. I mean, after Villanova, where I knew everybody and everybody knew me, there was some work to do to tell myself: life won’t always be like that. I couldn’t have written it any better, but you might never have that again, and you have to be okay with that.
But Ashley and I went to Salata recently and someone stopped us to ask for a picture. We weren’t even wearing Dallas stuff. We don’t even have Dallas stuff yet!
And when I got to deliver doughnuts to some teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week, it was easy to think about the fact that if I wasn’t playing basketball for a living, this is what I’d be doing. [Editor’s note: Maddy got her Masters in Education at Villanova, and student-taught this past year.] That’s always in your head — like, what are you going to do next? Or even this offseason. I’m not 100 percent sold on Europe.
But I do want to stay around the game. That’s why I like the shoe deal I signed. My agent [Erin Kane] sent over a few offers to read over, and I went with Puma, in part because they had a part of the deal that was a stipend to do charity work, or a kids’ camp. I love kids’ camps. I’m already trying to figure out if I can get back to Villanova to do theirs during the all star break.
First, though, it’s my first game on Saturday. My mom and dad will be there. They’ve been great about making me feel part of the family even when I can’t be with them elsewhere — my brother George graduated from Penn earlier this month, and they Facetime’d me in so I could be present for the whole thing.
Knowing my mom and dad are in the crowd makes me feel calmer about everything that’s ahead. My dad already looked at the schedule and picked out a bunch of games he can get to this summer. I tried to warn him — I don’t know for sure what my role is going to be, and I don’t want you to have to do all that traveling if I’m only going to play a few minutes. I don’t know yet. And the first thing he said was: I don’t come all that way to see you play. I come all that way to be with you, to hang out with you.
So it’ll be Mom and Dad on Saturday, and after the game we’ll probably celebrate my birthday early, which is on May 22. And that’s how I keep thinking about it all: no matter what, no matter how the game goes, everything’s going to be all right. Your best game, your worst game: knowing they’re there is going to help me so much.
No matter what happens, we’re going to get dinner after.
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