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Last season, with an unsettled guard situation at the start of the season and an injured point guard late in the season, the Lynx still qualified for the WNBA playoffs before losing to Connecticut in the first round.

That experience convinced Cheryl Reeve, Lynx president of basketball operations, to make sure it wouldn't happen again.

"You have to have guard play," Reeve said Friday, the day Natisha Hiedeman, acquired in an offseason trade with the Sun, was introduced in a Zoom call. "Guard play is central to a team's success."

That's why the Lynx signed Courtney Williams in free agency, and why they traded to bring Hiedeman back to the Lynx. (Actually, she was only a Lynx player for a few minutes after being taken 18th overall out of Marquette in the 2019 draft before being traded to the Sun for Lexi Brown on draft night.)

The Lynx, who open the regular season May 14, were determined to build depth and versatility in the backcourt. With Williams and Hiedeman they got it.

With Hiedeman — who is also a lead assistant for the Penn State women's basketball team — the Lynx got a defensive tenacity Reeve likened to what Renee Montgomery brought to the team during the 2015 title run. She is also a career .392 three-point shooter.

"Her light couldn't be more green," Reeve said. "If she takes 10 shots, seven should be threes."

Hiedeman has done it all in the WNBA, coming off the bench early in her career and starting the past two seasons. She doesn't care which happens here.

"Whatever the team needs, I'll bring," she said. "I'm known for my energy. I'll bring that all the time."

Hiedeman was acquired in exchange for off-guard Tiffany Mitchell and Minnesota's second-round pick in the April 15 draft.

Two years as a college assistant has helped her understand the whole game, not just what's going on at guard. Film study has, she said, slowed the game for her. A Green Bay native, she's glad to be closer to home. She told a story of draft night in 2019, when her nieces were so happy when she was taken by Minnesota — their favorite team — only to be heartbroken after the trade. Now, Hiedeman said, her nieces have forgiven the Lynx.

Hiedeman has played with Williams in Connecticut. She is well aware of Lynx player Diamond Miller from coaching against her in the Big Ten Conference when Miller was with Maryland. She is excited to play with Napheesa Collier.

How the guard rotation plays out — Kayla McBride is the starting off-guard — remains to be seen. But there could be scenarios when Williams and Hiedeman are on the court together.

"We will improve on defense this season," Reeve said. "It will not be the reason we're not successful. It will be the reason we are successful."