Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve had a dialog with rookie ahead Mikiah Herbert Harrigan in Minneapolis, previous to the workforce leaving for Bradenton, Fla. The message: The No. 6 total choose within the 2020 draft was not going to play a lot for the Lynx early this season.
“Where she was on the depth chart just meant that she wasn’t necessarily going to get as many opportunities early,” Reeve mentioned.
And the coach and normal supervisor wasn’t mendacity. Herbert Harrigan didn’t see the ground in Minnesota’s season-opening win over Connecticut. That may need upset what Reeve known as “all the amazing Kiki fans” who needed to see the South Carolina product in motion, however Herbert Harrigan understood the choice.
“I understand it’s a process, so if I don’t play, I’ll be my teammates’ biggest cheerleader,” she mentioned. “I was just focused on trying to soak everything in, learn all the plays and just soak everything in from all the players and my coaches. Staying ready and being ready for when my number was called.”
Reeve mentioned Herbert Harrigan dealt with her nonexistent workload “great,” and famous the rookie had a powerful shootaround two days later previous to the workforce’s recreation towards Seattle. Still, important minutes seemingly weren’t on the horizon.
But there was one other message Reeve delivered to Herbert Harrigan again in Minneapolis: “Every player in this league as a reserve player is an illness or an injury away from their time, from their number being called.”
“So we had that conversation,” Reeve mentioned, “and I just asked her to be ready.”
And when Karima Christmas-Kelly went down with a ruptured Achilles in Minnesota’s loss to Seattle on Tuesday, it was Herbert Harrigan’s time. The rookie performed 11 unimpressive minutes in what was a nasty night time for the Lynx throughout. Then, Thursday, the 6-foot-2, 21-year-old shined.
In 17 minutes, Herbert Harrigan scored eight factors, together with two triples, to go along with three rebounds, 4 deflections, an help, a steal and a block in Minnesota’s win over Chicago.
“She’s long … (and) I think she’s hard to play against,” Reeve mentioned. “She takes great pride in that (defensive) end. That’s what South Carolina did, so she came from that. But then she also took open shots, so obviously she’s getting a little more comfortable.”
Napheesa Collier remembers the beginning of her rookie season a 12 months in the past. She, too, was advised she wouldn’t see a lot motion due to the place she was on the depth chart. But accidents created alternative, and Collier seized it. By the top of the 2019 season, Collier led the WNBA in minutes en path to being named the league’s rookie of the 12 months.
Nobody is saying Herbert Harrigan will comply with that precise trajectory, however there have been encouraging indicators in Thursday’s recreation.
“Circumstances happen, things happen, and Kiki was obviously given the opportunity to play more minutes (Thursday), and she definitely took advantage of that,” Collier mentioned. “So I’m really excited to see her getting more time.”
Rachel Banham mentioned Herbert Harrigan has been studying day-after-day and enhancing, and famous the rookie “stood up” when known as upon Thursday. Herbert Harrigan was on the ground on the finish of the sport when the Lynx wanted, and obtained, a cease to seal the victory.
From not enjoying in any respect to enjoying in profitable time, all in a span of 4 days. How shortly issues can change.
“That’s all a part of the process, just being ready,” Herbert Harrigan mentioned. “You never know when your number will be called.”