by Chris Camello (@chris_camello)
BRADENTON, FL — Sometimes a small move could have a big impact. The Los Angeles Sparks (5-3) felt they needed a change when head coach Derek Fisher moved incumbent starter Riquana Williams to the bench and inserted guard Sydney Wiese into the starting lineup.
So far the move has worked out very well with both players thriving in their new roles. Williams has given the Sparks (5-3) that scoring punch needed off the bench.
Wiese has provided floor spacing to the starting unit with her outside shooting, recently scoring 17 points in the Sparks’ 93-78 win over the New York Liberty. Her scoring, good decision making, and infectious energy has been valuable to the other starters.
Head coach Derek Fisher spoke about Wiese’s seamless transition from reserve to starter.
“I think Sydney has done a phenomenal job going right into the starting the lineup, fitting right in with that group,” Fisher said. “She started several games with that group last season, so I don’t think it was much of an adjustment for her. Her teammates (trust) her with the basketball (and) she’s making a lot of the right plays.”
With Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, and Chelsea Gray drawing most of the attention from opposing defenses, Wiese’s three-point shooting forces a defense to spread out and creates opportunities for everybody.
“If we’re hitting from the outside, it makes it really easy for everyone to do what they do,” Wiese said. “They bring a lot of attention to themselves anyways because of how good they are. So it’s easy for us, because all the bodies are flying toward them, so we just have to make the shots. I’m glad it’s clicking.”
However, Wiese wants to see consistency on both ends as an individual player and as a team.
“I think just continuing to be more consistent defensively,” Wiese said. “There were a couple of lapses I know personally that I had tonight. Just keeping it simple on the offensive end, but then also our focus has been defense.”
“We want to continue to string possessions together where we are beating the other team,” Wiese continued. “That will lead to the wins that we want. That consistency personally and collectively, that’s our focus.”
Wiese is rewarding Fisher’s trust and proving she’s more than capable of contributing to a starting unit full of All-Star talent. It’s proven to be successful thus far and could make the Sparks that much tougher to beat.