March 22, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) Candice Wiggins spent the winter contemplating ending her basketball career.

It wasn't until a morning run on the beach a few weeks ago that she decided for sure that it was time to retire.

''I think I was 90 percent retired back in November when our trainer Laura Ramus said she wasn't going to be returning and that's when it really hit me,'' Wiggins told The Associated Press in a phone interview on Tuesday night.

''Last year around this time I was in really bad shape and she helped me so much. I flew out to Detroit and she changed my whole walk, nose to toes as she called it. She helped me with everything.''

Wiggins still hadn't made the final decision until March 2 when she got back from a workout. She knew then it was time to go.

''I looked back and I have nothing left to prove. I've done so much, not realizing how much I accomplished. I gave it my all,'' she said. ''When you do something 100 percent and give it all the gas in your tank, you don't have any regret.''

Wiggins announced her retirement from basketball Tuesday on The Players' Tribune website.

She played eight years in the WNBA, including the first five with the Minnesota Lynx. She earned sixth woman of the year honors her rookie season for Minnesota. She helped the Lynx win a title in 2011, a year after she ruptured an Achilles tendon.

Wiggins, who was selected third in the WNBA draft in 2008, went on to play for Tulsa, Los Angeles and New York.

The Stanford graduate recalled how in her very first preseason game at Madison Square Garden this past year, her first shot hit the side of the backboard.

''I wanted to retire then,'' she laughed.

Her season got a lot better as the 29-year-old helped the Liberty to the best record in the league providing key minutes as a reserve. She matched her season high with 15 points in the decisive third game against Indiana in the Eastern Conference finals which New York lost. That would end up being her last game as a pro.

''I thought that Candice gave us everything she had last season,'' New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. ''She did a fine job for us on the court, always did what she was asked, and was a great teammate. I wish her all of the best in her future endeavors.''

One of the first people Wiggins talked to after making her decision was her college coach Tara VanDerveer.

''I got to talk to her,'' Wiggins said. ''She had just won Pac-12 coach of the century. It was cool to just see we were reflections of each other. A lot of who I am is because of Tara.''

Wiggins isn't sure what her next step is. She has a passion for writing and has been keeping a journal through the years of all her journeys.

''Up until a couple weeks ago I was planning on going to training camp,'' Wiggins said. ''Now I'm trusting my decision, trusting this new direction. I'm shocked that I had that many fans, that cared so much. I'm going to take the time and connect with all the people that got me here.''

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Read Wiggins' thoughts on her retirement: http://www.theplayerstribune.com/candice-wiggins-liberty-wnba-retirement/

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