It took a bit of a hiccup along the way over the past couple of months, but finally, on Saturday, Natisha Hiedeman knocked down the door into the WNBA for Marquette Golden Eagles women’s basketball.
Hiedeman checked into the game between the Connecticut Sun and the Minnesota Lynx with 4:20 left in the second quarter. That made her the first Marquette player to appear in a WNBA regular season game. The Golden Eagles had seen former players earn draft picks in the past, as well as appear on training camp rosters, but no one had ever played in the league before. In fact, even Hiedeman had spent a stint with the Atlanta Dream earlier this season without appearing in a regular season game.
She acquitted herself quite nicely here, immediately recording a steal on the first possession after she checked in. In addition to the steal, Hiedeman added a rebound and an assist along with one missed shot in her 3:39 of action. Here’s the assist:
33 FOR 3!— Connecticut Sun (@ConnecticutSun) July 6, 2019
SUN LEAD 39-37. @MoheganSun ARENA IS BUMPIN' pic.twitter.com/Puov2Thv13
Ultimately, Hiedeman’s WNBA debut goes into the record book as a loss, as the Sun fell, 74-71, making it four straight defeats for the squad. Hiedeman didn’t get back into the game in the second half, and you can’t fault head coach Curt Miller for giving her a chance there. It was nip and tuck all the way to the end, and if you’re trying to snap a three game skid, that’s no time to be giving crunch time minutes to a rookie making her pro debut.
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 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 chance would have it, Hiedeman’s next chance to show what she’s got at this level comes against the team that gave her an in-season contract in June. Connecticut visits Atlanta with an eye on breaking this losing streak on Wednesday, July 10th, with tipoff on NBA TV set for 10am Central time.