November 12, 2018

By:  Kelly D. Evans
When Candice Wiggins scored 41 points in an NCAA tournament game during her 
senior year at Stanford University, she called it a miracle.
“It was like divine intervention,” Wiggins said. “People don’t understand there’s miracles that happen every day.”
The game on March 31, 2008, was a regional final pitting No. 2 seed Stanford against the No. 1-seeded University of Maryland. The winner would go to the Final Four. But before the game, Wiggins was struggling to stay confident.
“My WNBA status was going to be determined by the way I performed, and I was going to be remembered by the way this game went, which I thought was kind of unfair,” recalled Wiggins, 31.
Before the game, she’d read an article that compared her to her late father, MLB player Alan Wiggins, who died of AIDS when she was just 4 years old.
“I thought, Wow. It doesn’t even matter what I’m doing. All people care about is my father. They’re going to judge me by my father. No one’s going to ever judge me by me.”
She sought help from her grandmother, who in 1984 had prayed for Alan Wiggins when he was with the San Jose Padres and they were facing the Chicago Cubs in the postseason.
“The words she offered me were so comforting,” Wiggins said. “He was kind of in a similar moment where he was freaking out at the height of his moment. My grandmother, she prayed over him in the stadium. That was what she was doing during the Maryland game.”
Wiggins also offered up her own prayer: “Help. Be with me. If nothing else, God, I know you’re with me.”
She went 10-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-11 on 3-pointers. And she was 16-for-19 from the free throw line. She called the game an out-of-body moment.
“In a lot of ways, my whole four years at Stanford was a miracle,” she said. “It was like every day there was something intervening, and just with this great power. I attribute it to my belief.”
Her reliance on God started after her father’s death.
“There was always the biggest gaping hole with my father’s story,” Wiggins said. “He went on to just do all these amazing things, and as a baseball player he led the Padres to a World Series and was almost MVP of Major League Baseball [in 1984]. But when I started learning about his life, he struggled with his belief. He was just not sure that he knew if he had the faith. His lack of faith and his lack of belief was something that really swallowed him.”
Alan Wiggins struggled with drug abuse for many years. Wiggins was born in Baltimore when Alan Wiggins was playing for the Baltimore Orioles. He soon moved the family to Southern California. His funeral was held at Calvary CME Church in Pasadena, where her grandmother has been a member for 62 years. Wiggins still attends that church but also spends time at two others: The Promise Church in Escondido and The Rock Church in San Diego with Pastor Miles McPherson.
“I think that a lot of times your spiritual journey is seen as a private thing, and I think for a long time for me it’s been like that,” Wiggins said. “I think once I got to that public place, especially being a professional athlete, I realized a lot of my story is tied to my dad’s story in a lot of ways and ways that I wasn’t even aware of. My faith came natural for me. I think he found a lot of distress or he didn’t find solutions and answers. I actually found the answers that I was looking for.”
Wiggins earned a full ride to Stanford after leading her high school basketball team to two state titles. A guard, she was selected in the first round of the 2008 WNBA draft by the Minnesota Lynx, winning the Sixth Woman of the Year award as a rookie. She played in Minnesota for five seasons, including a championship in 2011, and then spent a year apiece playing for the Tulsa Shock, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty. She also spent time overseas in Spain and Greece. During her WNBA career, she averaged 8.6 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. When she retired in 2016, she created controversy when she called the WNBA “toxic” and said she was treated poorly because she was outspoken about being heterosexual.
“When I got to New York, my faith was very intense,” Wiggins said. “I’d have index cards of Scriptures. My confidence was something I struggled with. It’s like once you realize the power comes from the word inside the Bible, that’s when you really open up a whole world of tools that you just can’t find anywhere else.”
Attending chapel became her rock in the WNBA.
“We’d always meet and you have a little lesson, and then you’d say a prayer,” Wiggins said. “Sometimes it’s led by players, and it was my sanctuary. It was the one place that I would always go to no matter what was going on.”
During her time with the Lynx, teammate Maya Moore introduced her to gospel music.
“That year was the year we won our championship, and so I really felt like God was answering a lot of prayers for me,” Wiggins said. “Maya was like a sent package from God. When Maya was 12 years old, she was listening to Christian gospel artists Mary Mary. When I was 12 years old I had the entire Slim Shady LP memorized.
“There’s so many miracles that we pass by. We can see it and we just ignore them, and for me, I think I just believed in miracles.”

    October 12, 2018

    Chiney is taking it easy

    Chiney won't be playing professional basketball abroad in the 2018-19 season

    She's taking a break from having two full-time jobs and concentrating on her ESPN duties where she’s an NBA analyst.

    September 13, 2018

    Britt heading way down under

    Brittany McPhee will begin her professional basketball career with the Perth Lynx on the west coast of Australia.

    Craig O'Donoghue (The West Australian) reports how this came to be: Sami Whitcomb’s endorsement leads to Perth Lynx signing import Brittany McPhee.

    Stanford Athletics chronicles Britt's collegiate accomplishments: McPhee signs in Australia.

    September 12, 2018

    Nneka is finalist for USA Basketball World Cup team

    Nneka has spent the past couple of weeks at the USA Basketball Womens's World Cup training camp, and has been selected as one of the 16 finalists for the team.

    The team has departed for France, where they will play in a four-team, international tournament against Canada, France and Senegal. The final 12-member USA World Cup Team will be selected prior to the start of the World Cup.

    More information:

    September 10, 2018

    September 8, 2018

    Jamila Wideman has a new career

    The NBA has hired Jamila Wideman ('97) as Vice President of Player Development:

    Former WNBA player Jamila Wideman has been hired as Vice President of Player Development. In her new role, Wideman will lead outreach and collaboration with the league-wide network of team player development directors, manage partnerships with external organizations and expand the NBA’s Career Crossover program.

    Wideman was selected third overall in the 1997 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks and played four seasons in the league. A former standout at Stanford University, she also played professionally in Israel and Spain. During her WNBA career, Wideman founded the Stanford Athletic Alliance and Hoopin’ with Jamila, a youth mentoring program.

    Before joining the NBA, she worked as an attorney at the Equal Justice Initiative and the Civil Division of The Legal Aid Society, providing representation to incarcerated and low-income populations. Wideman graduated from New York University Law School.

    September 7, 2018

    Hall of Famers to be recognized at Stanford/USC game

    Candice Wiggins is one of eight Stanford athletes in the 2018 Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame class. The class will be recognized at Stanford's football game against USC on Saturday.

    This is her Hall of Fame bio:

    Candice Wiggins ’08, Women’s Basketball:
    Recruited for basketball and volleyball, Wiggins emerged as one of the most prolific two-way guards in school history. She is the program's only four-time All-American and departed as the Pac-10's all-time leading scorer with 2,629 points. As a senior in 2008, Wiggins became the first woman in NCAA Tournament history to score at least 40 points twice, netting 44 against UTEP and 41 against Maryland. Wiggins received the Wade Trophy as the best women's player in Division I. A dynamic playmaker and shooter, she led the Cardinal to a 32-3 record in 2004-05 and was the first to claim Freshman of the Year and Player of the Year honors in what is now the Pac-12. As a sophomore, she buried 90 3-pointers and repeated as Pac-10 Player of the Year. She holds career records at Stanford for highest scoring average (19.2), 3-pointers made (295), free throws made (556) and steals (281), and ranks second in points and 11th in assists (436). Wiggins hit 16 free throws in a contest twice (T-1st) and made eight 3-pointers (T-3rd) once. She was the third overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft by the Minnesota Lynx and also played for the Tulsa Shock, Los Angeles Sparks and New York Liberty. Wiggins made the All-Rookie team and won a WNBA crown in 2011, later playing professionally in Spain, Greece, Turkey and Israel. She earned a degree in communication, lives in San Diego, and wants to stay involved with sports as a mentor to young athletes.

    Read more from Stanford Athletics: Stellar Class

    August 24, 2018

    WNBA playoffs over for Cardinal alums

    Neither the Los Angeles Sparks nor the Connecticut Sun survived the second round of the WNBA playoffs.

    The Sparks were overwhelmed by the Washington Mystics 96-64: Mystics ease past Sparks 96-64 to reach semifinals

    Candace Parker was the only Spark to score in double digits. Nneka played for 31 minutes, scored just eight points and grabbed three rebounds. Karlie got a couple of minutes of playing time in the last few minutes of the game, but did not take a shot.

    The Sun fought a very close battle with the Phoenix Mercury for 37 1/2 minutes, at which point the score was tied at 86-86. Then the mature, experienced Mercury closed out the game with a 10-0 run: Griner, Taurasi help Mercury beat Sun 96-86

    Chiney was suffering from a bone bruise to her right knee and spent much of the game on the sidelines on an exercise bike. She played for 19 minutes, but tallied just two points, three rebounds and two steals.

    August 22, 2018

    Nneka and LA Sparks advance in playoffs

    For the third consecutive season, the LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx met in an elimination game in the WNBA playoffs. In the previous two seasons, the game was the championship game — last night, it was a first round game.

    The Sparks defeated the Lynx 75-68 in a hard-fought game and will play the Washington Mystics in the second round (also single-elimination) on Thursday.

    Nneka has been struggling with mononucleosis for much of the season, but found the strength to play for 37 minutes. She tallied 19 points, five rebounds, two steals, an assist and a block.

    Here is more information:

    August 17, 2018

    Markisha Coleman is Pro-Am veteran

    The S.F. Bay Area Pro-Am Basketball League gets little attention from the Bay Area media. Neither does Markisha Coleman (Stanford '07), who is about to begin her fifth season as the girls' basketball head coach at Menlo-Atherton school and who is a veteran member of the Pro-Am League.

    The Pro-Am finished its season this week with the championship game on Thursday.

    Terry Bernal (San Mateo Daily Journal) took the occasion to write this story about Markisha and the Pro-Am: M-A coach proves iron woman in Pro-Am playoffs