July 12, 2020 

Natisha Hiedeman and Briann January did not travel with the Connecticut Sun to Florida

Both players tested positive and are self-isolating ahead of the 2020 WNBA season

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Connecticut Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman (2) drives to the basket during the WNBA game between the Phoenix Mercury and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on August 01, 2019. Photo Credit: Chris Poss.

On July 12 the Connecticut Sun announced that Natisha Hiedeman and Briann January did not travel with the team to Bradenton, FL because they had tested positive for COVID-19. Hiedeman tested positive during the initial June 28-July 5 period while January was held back as a precaution before she eventually tested positive.  

According to head coach Curt Miller Hiedeman, who is in Connecticut, tested positive on the first test while January, who is in Arizona, did not test positive until her seventh test. 

According to the team’s press release, both Hiedeman and January are self-isolating and complying with the health and safety protocols of both the WNBA and CDC. The team also stated both players are expected to arrive at IMG after a succession of two negative tests and that Hiedeman and January will state another round of quarantine and testing once they arrive. 

Without Hiedeman and January, the Sun have 10 players with them in Florida, leading to an increased number of minutes for everyone else on the team. 

While talking to the media on July 12 Miller mentioned that with just 10 players it makes for a long day of practice. 

Jasmine Thomas will likely be the most impacted by this, as Hiedeman frequently came in for her in stretches last season and January has averaged 8.5 points, 3.6 assists and 1.1 steals throughout her career.

Miller will have to get creative with his lineups if Hiedeman and January are not ready to go by the time games start on July 25. He alluded to one of his solutions on July 11 when he mentioned to the media that he would be playing Bria Holmes at the 2 this season. 

The Sun will be forced to play bigger lineups as Thomas (5’9) and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis (5’11) are the only players in Florida shorter than 6’. While putting out bigger lineups will lead to better rebounding and defense, the Sun will lose some of their quickness and three-point shooting ability. 

It’s currently unclear who will backup Thomas, something that Miller will have to sort out before games begin. 

Written by Natalie Heavren

Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.

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