Most WNBA players head to Europe or other parts of the world during the winter — the traditional basketball season — to play in other leagues (that usually pay better) before returning for the spring and summer WNBA season.
Their schedules, like everyone else’s, has been upended by the coronavirus. European leagues have shut down and the WNBA season start is delayed.
Los Angeles Sparks guard Sydney Wiese played in Spain this Winter. Upon returning, she became the first WNBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, the team announced. From the team release:
Los Angeles Sparks guard Sydney Wiese tested positive for the coronavirus after returning from playing overseas in Spain. Her symptoms are mild and she’s in positive spirits and feeling fine. She’s been in self-isolation at home in Phoenix since her return and is encouraging everyone to practice social distancing to help prevent the spread of the virus. The Sparks are in direct communication with Sydney and wish her a speedy recovery.
Theresa Plaisance of the Connecticut Sun may also have had the disease. She was playing in China in December when she got sick and eventually was diagnosed with pneumonia and what doctors then described as an “unknown virus.” She recovered in a Chinese hospital before returning home. She told WTNH-TV (hat tip Fox News):
“I was just extremely weak, and my fever was really high and everything that went with that — body ache, chills, headache. When I was getting wheel-chaired into the hospital, I almost started crying because I was just that miserable and that much in pain. I was so sick I didn’t even care what they were giving me; I was like whatever you got, give it to me.”
She has recovered and returned stateside.
The tip-off of the WNBA season remains delayed. The United States has more than 100,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus — more than any other nation — and more than 1,500 deaths.