August 7, 2020 

Natisha Hiedeman makes the most of her starting opportunity

Hiedeman smoothly transitions from providing energy off the bench

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Connecticut Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman (2) during the WNBA game between the Dallas Wings and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on September 04, 2019. Photo Credit: Chris Poss.

Natisha Hiedeman handles postgame duties the same way she plays basketball, with energy and a willingness to do what needs to be done.

After bouncing into the room for her availability the 5-foot-7 guard was smiling and asked, “What I gotta do” while the camera height was being adjusted. 

In the last two games, Hiedeman was asked to start so she could guard the opposing point guards, while Jasmine Thomas covered the two-guard. Head coach Curt Miller also added that playing Thomas and Hiedeman at the same time allows Thomas to get a break from running the offense.  

The adjustment to the starting lineup worked and in the last two games, the Sun’s offense benefited, resulting in a 91-68 win for the Connecticut Sun (1-5) over the Dallas Wings (2-4) Thursday night.

Hiedeman has benefited from additional opportunities this season, not only working her way into the starting lineup but also in her scoring opportunities. 

Against the Wings, she had a career-high 14 points on 5-9 shooting, as well as two rebounds and four assists. She also knocked down two of the team’s five threes. 

Despite her efficient night, Hiedeman believes she’s been struggling from the field this season, but knows there is a simple solution, keep shooting. 

“For me and everyone on the team is just to stay confident, like you’re not gonna make shots if you don’t take them so we just got to stay confident, keep taking shots, everybody’s capable,” she said. 

Hiedeman added, “Tonight for me they was just dropping so like I said just keep taking them shooters shoot, so that’s what we got to do.” 

She scored the first basket of the game for the Sun and was able to continue to bring consistent energy throughout the game, scoring a few points per quarter. Hiedeman did this coming off the bench last season and has seamlessly transitioned to providing energy from the time the game tips off. 

“I just got to be ready right from the right from the jump, normally coming off the bench I get a feel for the game but it ain’t been bad coming right off because I just feel like the energy from the beginning is great.” 

Miller hasn’t committed to continuing to start Hiedeman, but she’s proven that when the time comes she can step into a scoring role and into her defensive assignment.

Thomas spoke highly of Hiedeman but knows she can be more aggressive as a scorer. 

“She’s a scorer, she’s able to play that point guard role. She’s a great passer but we’re trying to get her to be more aggressive and looking for her shots. She can shoot the three, she’s really good off-ball screens and whether it’s her getting her shot or getting someone else involved,” she said. 

Thomas also added, “It also allows for me to play off the ball at times especially when I’m chasing an Arike [Ogunbowale] around on defense.”

Hiedeman finished her post-game interview with an emphatic “Peace out.”

The Sun return to the court against the Chicago Sky at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7.

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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