What if I told you… a 6’0 shooting guard was averaging 11.6 points per game in the W while shooting 54.5 percent from three over the past five games. Would you start that player?
That’s the type of outside shooting every team in the WNBA could use and most likely plug into their starting lineup.
What if I told you that player’s name was the LA Sparks Sydney Wiese, a 4th year player out of Oregon State. Would you still start her?
Derek Fisher’s answer to that question is yes. And the Sparks are now 4-1 with Wiese in the 2020 starting lineup.
“I think my mindset is to make sure we punch first, whatever that looks like,” said Wiese. “Coming out there, being really focused and it starts at the tip.”
When Riquna Williams struggled at the beginning of the 2020 season, she knew it was time for her to play off the bench.
Williams has repeatedly described the bench as her “comfort zone.” So much so, that Williams personally told Assistant Coach Latricia Trammell that she wanted to continue coming off the bench, when it was announced Tierra Ruffin-Pratt would miss the LA Sparks game on Aug. 11 against the New York Liberty.
That’s where Wiese, a sweet-shooting lefty with the mentality of a point guard, has stepped up to fill out the Sparks starting lineup. Wiese started nearly half of the Sparks’ games during the 2019 season. In 2020, she has taken her offensive production to another level.
“She’s been a great teammate,” began Sparks point guard Chelsea Gray. “We’ve always had Sydney’s back. We always knew she was capable of a lot more than she was showing out there and having the opportunity to now do that, it’s huge for us.”
Gray has had a front-row seat to the emergence of “Syd”, as she’s affectionately known within the Sparks organization. Wiese was drafted in the first round of the 2017 WNBA Draft but did not consistently receive playing time until Candace Parker went down with a hamstring injury during the 2019 preseason.
“When the doors are closed, lights are off, she’s getting in the gym,” Gray shared. “To have a teammate like that who works so hard, keeps the communication, always learning, always pushing you to be better.”
“I think Sydney has done a phenomenal job,” said Fisher. “I think Sydney tries to do the right things as much as possible when she’s out there. That’s what we have to have.”
Gray said the world is finally seeing what she’s always known, (Wiese) “is one heck of a player.”
When Wiese is paired in the starting lineup with a defensive stopper like Brittney Sykes or Tierra Ruffin-Pratt and Hall of Fame / All-Star players like Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Chelsea Gray, Sydney knows her opponents may single her out as the weak link.
However, Wiese told Winsidr she is taking every challenge, including being consistently better defensively “super personally.”
When Wiese is asked about her hot shooting, she quickly changes the subject to defense. She believes that her team has the ability to bring it every single possession.
With tireless energy and a constant sense of urgency, Chelsea Gray agrees, every team in the WNBA would be lucky to have a Sydney Wiese.
“I think she’s shooting around 50% from the 3. That’s Sydney Wiese… but also she can pass the rock, handle it, so I have the utmost confidence in Syd.”
“She’s one heck of a person. Nobody else is getting our Sydney Wiese right now though,” Gray said with a huge smile on her face.