March 7, 2024 

Locked On Women’s Basketball: Natisha Hiedeman, difference-maker for Minnesota Lynx, Penn State

'When you're happy off the court, you're playing great on the court. So I feel like this is going to be a really exciting season for me'

On today’s episode of Locked On Women’s Basketball, Minnesota Lynx guard and Penn State assistant coach Natisha Hiedeman joined host Howard Megdal to talk about her time with the Nittany Lions and her preparations for the upcoming WNBA season.

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First, the two discussed Hiedeman’s return to the Midwest after she was traded from the Connecticut Sun earlier this year. The Lynx acquired Hiedeman from the Sun in a trade that sent Tiffany Mitchell and Minnesota’s 2024 2nd round (No. 19 overall) pick to Connecticut.

“I’ve always been a Midwest baby. I just grew up here, I went to school, to college in the Midwest,” Hiedeman said. “Like I said, I’m a big family person. So just being able to be back closer to my family. You know, when you’re happy off the court, you’re playing great on the court. So I feel like this is going to be a really exciting season for me and I’m looking forward to it. And I’ve been putting in a lot of work in the offseason, so I’m just excited to get the ball rolling.”

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Hiedeman also spoke about how her approach to watching film and breaking down the game has evolved since becoming an assistant coach at Penn State:

“I feel like growing up, I might have watched a lot of film and watched a lot of games, but I’ve never broke it down like how I break it down now,” she explained. “I’m on SportsCode now every day like clipping, circling and drawn lines, arrows, watching other people doing tapes or comparisons, similar, similar basketball styles. So I feel like, yes, I’ve always watched film, but it’s a little bit different when I’m breaking it down for myself or for other people. I just see completely different.”

“Yesterday we watched film with the team, this morning, we did like a walkthrough, you know, walking through the opponent’s plays, just making sure that we’re ready, knowing our schemes, with our coverages everything going through our offense, making sure everything’s working smoothly,” Hiedeman said. “For me, I don’t want to say like I primarily focus on the guards because I definitely pour a lot of energy and effort and attention into the bigs as well. But I definitely can help the guards a little bit more, just being a guard and always being a guard and playing that position.”

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But on game days, Hiedeman says her focus is more on her players than anything else: “I’m warming up with everybody, definitely bring in a lot of energy. That’s what I feel like I do the best, is make sure the girls have energy, make sure everything is good with them,” she said. “I think a lot of times as coaches, you know, [we] focus so much on the game and I think me personally, I make sure everything else is good in their life too, so that when they step on the court are, they’re good to go and they’re ready to play.”

Hiedeman and Megdal also talked about balancing work as an assistant with off-season preparation, the moment Hiedeman was traded to Minnesota, and much more. Tune in to Locked On Women’s Basketball on YouTube and make sure to subscribe to the Locked On Women’s Basketball podcast to keep learning about the WNBA, women’s college basketball, basketball history and much more!

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