By Charles Hallman
While most of her Minnesota Lynx teammates are now spending their wintertime off-season on foreign soil, Candice Wiggins opted instead for sunny California.
“My body’s resting,” the fourth-year pro recently told the MSR during a phone interview. Most WNBA players regularly play abroad between regular seasons, but Wiggins says she’s unsure whether she will head overseas this time around.
“I’ve gotten some offers,” she admitted. “The money [playing internationally] is great and it’s wonderful, but as of right now, I am not overseas.”
After a couple of years battling assorted injuries, “I’m listening to my body,” said Wiggins. As a result, the Stanford grad is a volunteer coach at Occidental College in Southern California.
Wiggins joined the staff in November and is working with former Lynx assistant coach and Tigers Head Coach Heidi VanDerveer. VanDerveer is the sister of Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer, who was Wiggins’ college coach.
“Heidi was very instrumental to me when I was at Stanford,” recalled Wiggins, adding that she helped her make the transition from college to pros. “We created a great bond.”
Now on the sidelines as a non-player, “I still have a very long [playing] career ahead of me, so it’s fun to coach now,” said the four-time All-American. “It’s a volunteer job that I love.”
Wiggins remains committed as well to her charitable endeavors: She participated on a WNBA-sponsored online chat on World AIDS Day December 1. “It’s all about choices. You can choose to be tested,” the guard pointed out.
Her father, Alan Wiggins, a former major league baseball player, died of AIDS when she was very young. “It’s been 20 years since my father’s death,” Candice said, “and for those 20 years, I’ve schooled myself on how to cope with this experience. I see myself as a resource of passion and understanding. I’m not a doctor [or a] specialist, but I can provide information. I can steer people to the right place.”
She suggests Until There’s A Cure (www.UTAC.org), the Children Affected by AIDS Foundation (www.CAAF.org), and the Minnesota AIDS Project among others as good resources for more information.
“There are so many people and outreach programs out there,” said Wiggins. “We all have access to information through technology. No one in this day and age has any excuse not to have information.”
Alcorn State braving road
The Alcorn State women’s basketball team has yet to play a home game this season. The Lady Braves’ first 14 games are on the road. Their first home game is scheduled for January 7 versus Jackson State.
“We’ve played a pretty tough schedule,” admits Head Coach Tonya Edwards of her club’s non-conference schedule that included Mississippi State, Texas, Oklahoma State, SMU, Rice, Harvard and Minnesota. “We’re hoping that this will help us build a little character… It will make us a much stronger team once conference play comes around.”
Alcorn State plays in the SWAC and is projected to finish third in the conference. U of M Coach Pam Borton said after her team’s 75-46 win on Sunday that the visitors were “extremely aggressive.” The Gophers only outscored the Lady Braves (0-7) by two points (31-29).
Thus far this season HBCU women teams are 0-6 against Big Ten teams. “We haven’t played up to our potential yet,” noted Edwards, the Minnesota Lynx’s first-ever draft pick and All-Star (1999). “It is going to get better.”
Wolves broadcasts lack color
For the second consecutive season, no Minnesota Timberwolves game will be shown on local over-the-air television — Fox Sports North will carry the team’s two preseason games and 50 regular season games on cable and satellite.
All 66 regular season contests, along with the preseason games, will be broadcast on WCCO-AM, which begins its first season as the team’s radio home.
Oh, by the way — there are no Blacks or other persons of color on the Wolves’ broadcasting crew.
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.