For a second there on Sunday, it looked like the Connecticut Sun were going to pull off the rally.
It was 30-17 after one quarter, and the Washington Mystics’ lead would eventually be as high as 17 points with 5:33 left in the third quarter. Yet, it was only a 10 point game at the start of the fourth quarter, and with 6:37 left to go, Morgan Tuck pulled the Sun within four.
After an Elena Delle Donne pullup, Courtney Williams sank two free throws for the Sun to make it a four point game again with 5:56 to go. This was anyone’s game at this point. It took a lot for the Sun to have punched back against that deficit on the road against the Mystics, but with more than enough time left, they could push it over the top.
Yet, Delle Donne is the 2019 MVP for a reason, and her 20th point of the game made it a six point game again. Ariel Atkins would hit a three for Washington less than a minute later, and suddenly the lead was nine. The moment had slipped through Connecticut’s fingers, and Washington would go on to win Game #1 of the WNBA Finals, 95-86.
Still, it’s a best of five series, and there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played.
Hopefully, there’s a lot more basketball to be played for Natisha Hiedeman, the reason that we’re all here. Hiedeman became the first Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball player to appear in the WNBA Finals in Game #1. She was already a trailblazer in becoming the first Golden Eagle to appear in a WNBA regular season game as well as the playoffs, so what’s one more historical note for her this season?
Hiedeman saw 3:21 of action in the game, scoring on her only field goal attempt of the game. That came at the 4:22 mark of the second quarter, for those of you keeping very serious track of all of these historical notes. That was her only contribution to the box score for that game, but head coach Curt Miller said after the game that he wants to get his bench, including Hiedeman, more involved as the series goes on.
We’ll see how that goes — it is the Finals, after all, and Hiedeman is a rookie coming off the bench for the Sun — but there is evidence to suggest that Miller is right. After all, Connecticut won close against Los Angeles in Game #1 of the semifinals when Hiedeman did not play, and then won big in Games #2 and #3 when she did play and get a decent chunk of minutes to boot. Yeah, it’s a small sample size, but that’s also the full total of all of her WNBA playoffs history.
2019 WNBA Finals
#1 Washington Mystics vs #2 Connecticut Sun
Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019
Time: 7pm Central
Location: Entertainment & Sports Arena, Washington, D.C.