Despite positive test, Wiese has 'no respiratory issues'
Sydney Wiese had no real symptoms — until she lost her sense of taste and smell.
On Friday, the former Oregon State standout became the first WNBA player to test positive for the coronavirus.
"Loss of taste and smell and night sweats were my only symptoms," Wiese said Sunday from her home in Phoenix. "I didn't feel right, but I'm fortunate. I don't have a severe case, just a mild one. No respiratory issues."
Wiese, 24, figured she was in an at-risk category after playing in the Spanish Pro League this winter.
"I did a lot of traveling in February, including two cross-continent round trips from Spain to the States," she said. "I was in a lot of airports, on a lot of planes, around a lot of people. The week before I came home, we had the Queen's Cup, a league tournament. All the top teams were staying in Spain.
"Spain has turned out to be one of the worst countries (for coronavirus), so I thought, 'OK, me being exposed to it is high probability.'"
Wiese arrived in Phoenix on Friday, March 13. "I know," she said, "Ironic."
Her parents, Troy and Patti Wiese, encouraged her to get tested "just to be sure," she said.
Easier said than done.
"I tried two separate times to get a test," she said. No go.
After she lost her sense of taste and smell — two symptoms of the coronavirus — her parents contacted a church friend who works at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix.
"She got me in on Wednesday," Wiese said. On Friday came the positive result.
"I wasn't surprised," she said. "I know my body. I know it didn't feel right. I was also aware that I was exposed to a lot of different environments. Once I heard for sure that I have it, my reaction was, now what do I have to do to not spread it?"
No. 1, stay home. She has mostly rested since returning to Phoenix, where she lives with her parents in the offseason.
"I feel great now, honestly," he said. "The worst of it was last week. My lungs, my breathing, my body has felt good. I've been intentionally listening to my body. There are days I haven't done anything. Now I'm going to try to get my body moving a little bit."
Wiese can't go to a gym to work out or shoot baskets.
"I'm mindful to remain in my backyard," she said.
She knows she could have transmitted the virus to her parents.
"Even before I tested, we all were being very cautious," she said. "I haven't even hugged them yet. We've been cleaning surfaces, washing everything, using separate bathrooms, using hand sanitizers. You can't control everything, but you try to control what you can."
Wiese was coming off her most successful season in pro basketball. After helping Oregon State to the Final Four in 2016, the 6-foot southpaw — a three-time all-Pac-12 selection — was taken by the Los Angeles Sparks with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2017 WNBA draft.
The Phoenix native played sparingly in her first two seasons with the Sparks, but had a breakthrough third season in 2019. Starting half of L.A.'s 32 regular-season games, Wiese averaged 4.8 points and 1.8 assists in 20.6 minutes per game, then averaged 4.3 points and 1.5 assists in four playoff games. She scored in double figures three times and had 10 games with multiple 3-point baskets.
"It was so much fun to have the opportunity to be out there playing," said Wiese, who has one more year on her contract with the Sparks. "My first two seasons taught me so much. Throughout it all, I've been around very encouraging people, high-level professionals who have projected life and belief into me even when I'm not on the floor. They've made my first three years awesome.
"Everybody wants to play at the pro level. Minutes are hard to come by. However I can contribute, I'm going to continue to work to earn those minutes but also to be the best teammate I can be in order to help us get the championship."
WNBA players generally play overseas in the winter. In 2017-18, Wiese played in Australia. In 2018-19, she was in Israel. This past season, she was with Cadi La Seu in Spain, with whom she averaged 9.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 20 Spain-Liga Dia games. She also averaged 11.6 points in 10 EuroCup contests with Cadi La Seu.
"I loved it," Wiese said. "It was a really competitive league. Spain is one of the best countries in the world when it comes to women's basketball. I might have been the first WNBA player to play for my club — everyone was excited to have me — but they weren't messing around. Oh man, that first practice — those people work!
"It was a blast. I loved my teammates and my coaches. I was part of an awesome, friendly club, a group who cared about us as people. It was also a really good environment."
The start of WNBA training camps is scheduled for April 26.
"I haven't heard about any delays," Wiese said, "but I won't be surprised (if it happens). The health and safety of everyone is the priority."
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