Professional Basketball

Hiedeman’s Spark Lifts Lynx Past Wings

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Minnesota Lynx guard Natisha Hiedeman dribbles past an airborne Dallas Wings guard Jacy Sheldon during Monday’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Lynx used 17 points and a second-half spark by guard Natisha Heideman to down the Dallas Wings 90-78 in front of 8,314 in attendance at Target Center on Monday night.

The Lynx jumped out to an early lead and managed to stay just ahead of the Wings in the first quarter. Guard Kayla McBride opened the scoring with a three-pointer, but it was answered immediately by a reverse layup by Wings guard Maddy Siegrist. Minnesota forward Dorka Juhasz and Dallas guard Sevgi Uzun exchanged three-point shots. The Lynx lead 6-5 with 8:34 left in the opening quarter.

Juhasz had the early hot hand for the Lynx, as she drained back-to-back three pointers a minute later, which would have put her at a perfect 3-for-3 in three-point range, but the officials reviewed the back-to-back shots and ruled them both as two-point field goals instead. Uzun then made consecutive buckets for Dallas, including one three-pointer, and the score was tied 12-12 with 5:24 left in the first.

McBride got back into action for Minnesota and hit two more three-pointers, but they were offset by layups from center Teaira McCowan and Siegrist.

Lynx center Alanna Smith and McBride scored two free-throws each and forward Cecelia Zandalasini connected on a three-ball to cap a 7-0 Minnesota run and put the home team up by nine points. Dallas answered with layups from forward Monique Billings and Uzun to close out the quarter on a 4-0 run. It was 27-22 at the quarter break. Both teams shot over 50 percent field goal percentage in the frame.

Dallas Wings guard Maddy Siegrist goes in for a layup as Minnesota Lynx guard Kayla McBride defends during Monday night’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

Center Kalani Brown scored a layup as the second quarter began, which cut the deficit to three, but Hiedeman answered with her first three-pointer of the game. After trading baskets a couple of times, Dallas was able to go on their first sustained run of the game.

After Hiedeman’s second three-ball of the quarter put Minnesota up by nine, Siegrist answered with a three-pointer which was followed by a steal and transition layup by Billings, a layup by McCowan and a jump shot by Siegrist. The 9-0 run tied the score at 37-37 with 4:14 left in the half.

The game hit a scoring drought as neither team could hit a shot in nearly two-and-a-half minutes before Lynx forward Napheesa Collier make a jump shot with 1:53 left in the half, which was followed by a jumper by McBride and a Collier layup. Dallas guard Lou Lopez-Senechal made a shot, the only Wings basket in the final two minutes of play. Minnesota took a 43-39 halftime lead.

Siegrist and McCowan each made layups coming out of the halftime break to tie the game 43-43. The tie was broken by Minnesota guard Courtney Williams, but Dallas guard Jacy Sheldon tied it back up again. Smith made a go-ahead layup for Minnesota, but Sheldon nailed a three-pointer to give the Wings a 48-47 lead. Williams made a jump shot and then a reverse layup, followed by a layup from Smith, and Minnesota took back the lead and a five-point margin, 53-48 with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Wings were a team that wouldn’t go away. Uzun made a jump shot, which she followed with a three-pointer and the game was tied again, 57-57. Billings broke the tie with a jump shot that gave the Wings the 59-57 lead with 2:13 left in the third period of play.

Minnesota Lynx center blocks a shot by Dallas Wings guard Sevgi Uzun during Monday night’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

Hiedeman checked back into the game just before Billings shot but knew that it was time to provide the spark that her team has needed all game. She answered the Billings score with a driving layup and was fouled by Uzun. After making the free throw, the Lynx reclaimed a one-point lead. Then she was fouled by Brown, allowing her to make two more free shots for a three-point lead, 62-59.

Zandalasini was fouled by Billings with 16.1 seconds left. Her two free throws extended the Minnesota lead to five-points, but Brown snuck in a layup with 0.1 seconds left in the quarter. Minnesota led 66-63 with one quarter to go.

Minnesota jumped out on a 12-2 run to begin the fourth quarter, sparked by a layup from Hiedeman, who scored two layups during the run. Smith scored twice while Collier and Juhasz added a bucket each during the stretch as Minnesota had a comfortable 78-65 lead with 7:18 remaining.

The Wings answered with a 9-2 run of their own with three-pointers from Sheldon and Lopez-Senechal, a jump shot by Siegrist and a free throw from Billings. With 4:55 left, the deficit was cut to six.

A jump shot by Collier and a layup by Hiedeman was negated by baskets by Brown and Billings. However, Dallas was forced to start fouling as the deficit remained at six with just over a minute to play. Minnesota went 6-for-6 from the free throw stripe in the last 1:14 to secure the 90-78 win over the Wings.

Dallas Wings forward Monique Billings shoots a hook shot over the outstretched arms of Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier during Monday night’s game at Target Center. Photo by Abe Booker III/Sportspage Magazine

Minnesota was 30-for-67 (44.8 percent) from the field; 7-for-19 (36.8 percent) from three-point range; and 23-for-24 (95.8 percent) from the free throw line. They committed eight turnovers which led to ten Dallas points.

“We were pretty disappointed in the first half, obviously, with the points in the paint,” said Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve. “I thought in the second half we took away what the perimeters were getting. We were much better at navigating ball screens and our overall team defense improved.”

Dallas went 35-for-73 (47.9 percent) from the field; 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from three-point range; and 1-for-3 from the charity stripe. They turned the ball over 16 times leading to 20 Minnesota points.

“I could go on and on. It was a great team effort and we can definitely build from this. I’m just extremely proud of them,” said Dallas head coach Latricia Trammell. “I just keep saying, as long as we keep moving forward in a positive way, when we get bodies back, the invaluable minutes that this team and these players are getting, you had better watch out.”

The Wings held the 44-38 edge in points-in-the-paint and 14-8 in second chance points, while the Lynx outscored them 20-8 in fast break points. There were six ties and four lead changes.

“We had seven deflections at halftime and finished with 25. That was a big factor in our ability to get separation,” said Reeve.

The Lynx were led by 19 points from Kayla McBride, 17 points from Natisha Hiedeman, 16 from Napheesa Collier, Alanna Smith contributed 12 points, and Dorka Juhasz pitched in for 11 points. Smith led Minnesota with nine rebounds while McBride led her team with seven assists.

“It was just kind of flowing. There were a lot of options and we were getting a lot of things in transition,” said Hiedeman. “My teammates just make everything easy so I was just able to get going today.”

Dallas was led by 17 points each from Sevgi Uzun and Maddy Siegrist, while Monique Billings added 15 points. Billings also led her team with 10 rebounds and nine assists. She was one assist away from a triple-double.

“I see us making steps in the right direction, which is always a positive thing,” said Billings. “It’s just the small details and the little kinds that we’ll figure out, that we’re still figuring out as a team game-by-game, but definitely feeling closer and closer. I feel like our locker room still believes. We’re not defeated, so we’ve got to keep going.”

The Lynx (11-3) are in the middle of a four-game home stand. They host the Atlanta Dream (6-6) at 7 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Dallas (3-10) travels to the Chicago Sky (4-9) for an 11 a.m. CT contest on Thursday.

NOTES:

Kayla McBride’s has now made 21 three-pointers in the last five games. She is seven behind the record held by Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi who shot 28 in a five-game stretch back in 2020.

This was the 850th regular season contest in Minnesota Lynx franchise history dating back to June 12, 1999. They now have a franchise record of 463-387 (54.5 percent). Reeve, now in her 15th season, has coached 485 of them (57.0 percent).

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