December 19, 2022 

The role family played in Taycee Wedin becoming the WCC’s all-time 3-point leader

The Saint Mary's senior guard seemed destined from birth to become a shooter.

MORAGA, Calif. — A lot of college basketball players come from athletic families. Many players parents played sports in high school, college and even professionally. Some players parents also played basketball and see their children follow in their footsteps. Then, there are parents who coached their players during their childhood and even in high school. However, there are very few that have all three. St. Mary’s senior guard Taycee Wedin is one of those exceptions and it’s a big reason why she is the all-time 3-point leader in the West Coast Conference.

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Wedin grew up in Milwaukie, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. From an early age, she had a basketball in her hands and for good reason. Her mom, Kelli, was a star shooter at Franklin High School in Portland, once putting up 47 points in a game in her high school career before becoming one of the greatest shooters in Nevada Wolfpack history. Kelli currently holds the record for best 3-point percentage in a single season at 43% and is tied for the most 3-pointers made in a game with eight during her time in Reno. Her father Dan was an all-state football player in high school and played one season of college football at Lewis and Clark College. He also hit seven 3-pointers in a game in high school.

To say Taycee was destined to be a basketball player is an understatement.

“I first started playing when I was four … I think near like my middle school ages is when things started getting more serious in terms of basketball,” Wedin told The Next. “I really wanted to take that next step and kind of focus all of my time and attention besides school and all that. I wanted basketball to be my sport. I think my parents did a great job of helping me with that and they always made sure that I was playing with kids that were going to challenge me even if I was younger.”

Growing up, Wedin always played above her age range, and with having her mom as her coach, she seemed to always be the best on her team. Kelli coached Wedin through elementary and middle school and when she was in high school, mom was there as her coach once again. Being coached by her mom gave Wedin a real love for the game.

Taycee and Kelli celebrate an Oregon state championship. Photo Credit: Kelli Wedin

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All the extra hours in the gym since her mom was a coach is what helped turn Wedin into the amazing shooter she became. Her mom knew there wasn’t a secret recipe to becoming a great shooter and from day one Wedin’s work ethic was incredibly high. She was in the gym all the time, getting shots up and learning from her mom. It didn’t hurt having two phenomenal shooters as her teachers. The one awkward part was figuring out what to call her mom at practice.

“I did call her mom in high school when she was coaching. I was probably super annoying,” Wedin said. “We would butt heads in practice and she would make us all run because I would say something back to her and she’d never put up with any of that type of stuff. But after practices she would just, she’d be my mom.”

As she progressed through her high school career, Wedin rose up the leaderboards of La Salle Prep’s all-time leading scorers. As she did, she rose up college teams recruiting boards. By the time her junior year rolled around, she was being recruited by multiple Power 5 schools. However, during the middle of her junior year Wedin tore her ACL.

That injury caused a lot of the schools that had been recruiting her to back off. Those schools were concerned because Wedin wasn’t an incredible athlete and her missing a year and having to rehab made her less desirable. However, there was one school that was still talking to her, even the day after surgery: Saint Mary’s.

“Saint Mary’s was actually one of the few schools that kept in contact with me and told me that, you know, they don’t care that they’re here for me. They still wanted me to come to their school and that meant a lot to me,” Wedin said.

Gaels head coach Paul Thomas told The Next, “I truly believe that was a big reason why Taycee decided to come to Saint Mary’s was because we did not waver. In fact, I was up at her house probably just a couple of days after she had surgery, just to make sure that she knew where we stood. And that’s really where it was, that we weren’t gonna waver on a kid like her just because of who she was as a person.”

Taycee Wedin shoots a three against Nevada. Photo Credit:Tod Fierner

The support Wedin got from Saint Mary’s made her decision on where to go to college very easy. Despite having offers from Power 5 programs, Wedin felt the Gaels offered a similar feel to what she had at La Salle. She also liked the family feel she got from Saint Mary’s and so it was an easy choice for her on where to play her college ball.

When Wedin first arrive in Moraga, the Gaels were a team dominated by post play, with two careers 1000-point scorers down low. Wedin fell right in to her usual spot on the perimeter, contributing right away to a WNIT-bound Gaels squad by shooting 40% from beyond the arc in her freshman campaign.

But it was in her sophomore year where she really exploded onto the scene. Wedin more than doubled her scoring average and let it fly from beyond the arc that year, hitting a whopping 104 3-pointers — at the time, it was the Saint Mary’s record for most 3-pointers in a season. She had hit at least six 3-pointers in one game five times.

“You watch her play and shoot the ball. It’s so smooth and quick. And when you have that kind of shot, and you have that kind of release, we just felt with our system where she was going to get lots of looks, she would have an opportunity to do that,” Thomas said. “I mean what’s a weird thing now is we all think — her teammates, her coaches — when she shoots it, ‘The ball’s going in.’ I think that’s the most incredible feeling there is. When the ball leaves her fingers, it’s probably going in, that’s a pretty cool feeling as a coach. That doesn’t happen all the time with everybody.”

While Wedin found so much individual success, it didn’t translate into team success her sophomore and junior year. Before her sophomore year, Saint Mary’s had won 20 games nine straight years. However, from 2019-2021, Saint Mary’s was under .500, something the Gaels hadn’t done since 2009. The Gaels were able to find that success from the perimeter with Wedin, but struggled to have any form of a consistent inside presence.

Going into 2021-22, the Gaels gave Wedin a partner on the offensive end, Washington transfer Ali Bamberger. Bamberger gave the Gaels the inside presence they’d been missing and they flourished. Saint Mary’s got back above .500 in large part due to Wedin’s play in the postseason. The Gaels participated in the postseason WBI, eventually winning the tournament. In the championship game against Cleveland State, Wedin scored 25, including hitting a season high seven 3-pointers and was named MVP of the tournament. Those seven gave her 106 triples on the year, beating her own record which she had set during her sophomore season.

Taycee Wedin shoots a three in a home game against Cal. Photo Credit: Tod Fierner

It was just six games earlier in the Gaels last home game of the year that Wedin hit a 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to make her the WCC’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made in a career. Despite holding that record, it is her team’s determination and fight in the WBI that Wedin will never forget.

“I think just winning the WBI championship. I think that was one of the highlights of all of our careers who were on the team at that point,” Wedin said. “We weren’t 100% sure we were gonna go to the tournament but once we all committed and we’re dedicated to giving it our all in that tournament, I think we made the most out of it and we had fun. That was just a core memory that I’m going to take with me, for sure.”

As Wedin headed into her fifth and final season, she was excited to build off the success from the WBI championship. She was ready to help take Saint Mary’s back to the success they had when she arrived in Moraga. However, above all this, Wedin was excited to get an opportunity to play with her younger sister Addison. Addison had missed all of her freshman season as a Gael with a torn ACL. So when the opportunity to come back for her fifth year and play with her sister, Wedin jumped at the opportunity.

“That was a huge reason why I decided to take my fifth year. We didn’t really get to play with each other a ton in high school either because of our ACLs — we only got to play a couple games my senior year,” Wedin said about playing with Addison. “It’s just great having her here. She’s one of my roommates now and it’s really special that not a lot of people probably get to do. I’m just trying to be grateful for that and just take every day like it’s probably going to be over soon, just enjoying every day that I have with her.”

When her career finally does come to an end, Wedin will remember all the great relationships she had with coaches and her teammates. She has learned the importance of helping everyone around her feel like they matter. She cares so much about the game of basketball and that is by no means a surprise coming from someone raised by the game. Wedin seemed destined to go down this path and everyone around her has seen the special young women she has grown into.

“Her ability to face adversity every single night she’s gonna have somebody just in her face, denying her the basketball and her ability to face adversity but along with that, like never feel sorry for herself that things are not going well,” Wedin’s mom Kelli The Next. “I think she’s a great leader and willingness to just put her team above all, I think is kind of what I see. She plays hard, no matter what, no matter how things are going for her. I think her ability to help her teammates and her ability to really kind of just be positive for Addy. I think that it’s just a really, I don’t know, it makes my heart full.”

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Written by Matthew Walter

Matthew Walter covers the Las Vegas Aces, the Pac-12 and the WCC for the Next. He is a former Director of Basketball Operations and Video Coordinator at three different Division I women's basketball programs.

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