Maddy Siegrist diary: On mentors and eating at Mohegan — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, Aug. 30, 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, 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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I can feel the improvement. Especially at the defensive end.

Coming around screens, getting where I need to go on closeouts, I definitely feel a little faster. With experience, your anticipation gets a little better. And a shoutout to our strength coach, Preston Smith, because he has me doing these line hops before the game. We started in July and I was doing like 26, 27. Now I’m up to 35. So it’s neat seeing your quickness continue to grow.

It seems like other teams are noticing a little bit, too. There’s always, no disrespect, but going after the rookie the way you’d go after a college freshman. So there’s an extra satisfaction when someone’s trying to go after the freshman and I can get the stop, get the deflection. A little game-within-the-game.

I think that’s the standard — you’re always going to be able to defend, make effort. So I think that’s an intangible, but for me, just wanting to step up on that end, hopefully continue to get more opportunities.

That’s what happened for me in Phoenix [on Sunday], right at the end of the game. I heard coach go, “Maddy, go get her”, or “Maddy, you’re in”, something like that — I was too excited to remember exactly what it was. So I just tried to stay calm and, offense or defense, be confident when you get the ball and in whatever decision you make. I haven’t been in a lot of closing lineups this year, but I have so much experience doing it in college, so I can really draw on that experience.

Phoenix was special for other reasons, too. The Wings paid for our mentors to join us on the road trip, stay at our hotel, and come to practice with us on Saturday. Of course, my mentor is my dad.

Friday night, we had a reception for everyone at Blue Hound Kitchen and Cocktails. After practice on Saturday, we had dinner at The Arrogant Butcher, and we each got to introduce our mentors to the team and tell a little bit about them. When it was over, my dad told me how special it all was for him. And I loved seeing him courtside – they let our mentors in early — as I warmed up to play against the Mercury on Sunday. I am hoping to see him again soon, though, come playoff time.

He and I even got in some shopping time — we were at Urban Outfitters, and he was like, “This is Yankees, you gotta get this shirt.” So I did. I am always here to rep back home.

Maddy Siegrist reps the New York Yankees. (Photo via Dallas Wings)
Maddy Siegrist reps the New York Yankees. (Photo via Dallas Wings)

Meals out have been fun — our regular foursome is me, Lou [Lopez Senechal], Veronica [Burton] and Awak [Kuier]. Lou and I were able to show them around Mohegan, because we know it well from our BIG EAST days. Ballo and Tuscany are my favorites. And while we didn’t have quite as many people show as that day in New York, we did have a good 20-25 family and friends make the trip. A lot of them had Villanova stuff when we were in New York. But it’s mostly Dallas Wings merch now.

Beating Connecticut twice was huge — we know we can play with anybody, so the consistency of it meant a lot to us. I keep getting mentally ready for the playoffs, knowing it’s different than anything I’ve been through before. Luckily, a lot the players have been here before but right now, every game counts every game matters. You have no idea like who we’re gonna get — you can look at the standings and besides the top three right now, four to eight is all within a few games. It’s so much up for grabs.

I’ve been de-stressing on the plane, instead of reading, by watching “Suits” on Netflix. I’m totally hooked, in season four. But home and road really feels like I’m into a rhythm now.

And so on the court, it’s back to controlling what I can control. There was this moment against the Lynx [on August 22], I was being guarded by Bridget Carleton, so I was thinking about how to get the rebound against the smaller defender. But that’s not always great for spacing, it’s something the coaches are talking to me about, so I remembered that and leaked out for a three.

It’s all about getting better, in this role and hopefully, for bigger games to come.

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This week in women’s basketball

Fresh reporting from me on charter flights and the WNBA playoffs.

Alexa Phillipou and M.A. Voepel go big on how the players see the league.

Jackie Powell breaks down the Liberty win over the Aces.

Great big-picture stuff from Michelle Smith on college realignment.

Terrific Indiana-level perspective from James Boyd on Aliyah Boston.

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Five at The IX: Jackie Powell and Howard Megdal on Aces-Liberty

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
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By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
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Written by Maddy Siegrist