On the day that Marquette women’s basketball moved from the Carolyn Kieger era to the Megan Duffy era, we got one last bit of news from the Kieger era. Natisha Hiedeman was selected #18 overall in the 2019 WNBA Draft. The pick was originally made by the Minnesota Lynx, but Hiedeman’s draft rights were traded to the Connecticut Sun a little bit later on in the draft. Hiedeman is just the third Marquette player to be selected in the WNBA Draft, following in the footsteps of Abbie Willenborg and Angel Robinson.
I feel like the Sun could have tried a little bit harder to find a picture of Hiedeman that didn’t have Doug Bruno looming in the background like a weirdo.
Hiedeman is one of four draft players added to the Sun roster on draft night. With their own three picks in the draft, Connecticut acquired the rights to Kristine Anigwe from California (1st round, #9 overall), Bridget Carleton from Iowa State (2nd round, #21 overall), and Regan Magarity from Virginia Tech (3rd round, #33 overall). Anigwe and Magarity are listed as a center/forward and a forward on their respective college bio pages, while Carleton is listed as a guard like Hiedeman. While adding four players in a three round draft is a lot, there’s only one other pick that the Green Bay native will be competing with for a roster spot.
There’s also the issue of Connecticut dealing Lexie Brown to acquire Hiedeman’s rights. Brown, a 5’9” guard, appeared in 22 of 34 games for the Sun as a rookie last season, averaging 1.7 points, 0.8 rebounds, and 0.5 assists in 5.6 minutes per game. As the season wore on, she was playing less and less for head coach Curt Miller, so you can see why they made the deal from that side of things. On the flip side, Brown was the #9 pick in the draft a year ago, so it’s kind of a big deal that Connecticut dealt her in order to acquire Hiedeman. We’ll have to wait and see if that ends up helping Hiedeman land on the roster when the season actually starts up.
Connecticut finished third in the Eastern Conference last year with a record of 21-13. They earned the #4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs, earning a bye to the second round. However, they lost their single elimination game to Phoenix Mercury, 96-86. It was the second straight second round exit for the Sun after missing the playoffs in the previous four seasons. With that said, they were just one game back of eventual runner-up Washington Mystics in the standings, so who’s to say that Connecticut can’t make a step forward in Curt Miller’s fourth season?
Hiedeman wrapped up her time at Marquette as the #3 all-time scorer with 1,913 points, falling just 27 points short of what used to be Krystal Ellis’ program record of 1,940. She also ended up #6 all-time in assists with 457 helpers and became the first MU player to record 300 made three-pointers. Hiedeman’s 301 triples in her career surpassed Lori Goerlitz’s previous record of 223.
As you may have inferred at this point, Allazia Blockton was not selected in the 36 player draft. That’s not entirely surprising, as both Hiedeman and Blockton were projected to go in the back half of the draft, and High Post Hoops had Blockton going undrafted. Blockton was the 2018 Big East Player of the Year and rightfully earned the preseason version of that award for the 2018-19 season. However, she did miss a significant chunk of the season during Big East play with an ankle injury. You can’t help but figure that her health status during her senior year had some kind of impact on the evaluation process, but Blockton had been the star of the show for three previous seasons under Carolyn Kieger. You’d think that would help balance out whatever drop in production was a result of her injury, but perhaps not. Hopefully Blockton will still earn a training camp invite somewhere in the league and get a chance to catch on with someone. As the only player in Marquette history to rank in the top 10 in points, rebounds, and assists, she’s much too talented for the WNBA to ignore.
Please point your browsers towards Swish Appeal, our SB Nation friends that cover all things women’s hoops, for more on the WNBA Draft as well as the upcoming training camps and season to keep an eye on what happens to Hiedeman and Blockton down the road.