2008 Season Rewind: Vanessa Hayden-Johnson
Undoubtedly, Minnesota's 2008 season was one for the ages. In the franchise's 10th season in the WNBA, the 12 ladies of 2008 captured fansí hearts with their aggressive, spirited and energetic play. Under the guidance of Don Zierden, the 2008 squad finished the season 16-18, a six-game improvement from 2007. A 2009 playoff appearance seems to be on the horizon for the second-youngest team in the WNBA.
With the season in our rear view mirror and the players flocking overseas, lynxbasketball.com reflects on an exciting 2008 season by taking a look back at each player's campaign. In the fifth installment of this 12-part series, we take a look back at the season of Lynx post player Vanessa Hayden-Johnson.
Hayden-Johnson entered motherhood for the first time when she gave birth to a girl, Zyon Brianna Johnson, on June 2, 2007. The birth of her child caused Hayden-Johnson to miss the entire 2007 season, but in 2008 she returned to Minnesota, and brought Zyon along for the ride. Hayden-Johnson's daughter became much like a symbol of the '08 season for the Lynx. The 18-month old could often be seen running and creating havoc in the locker room, knocking down everything in her path of destruction. Even though sometimes tough to keep up with, the little Johnson provided the Lynx and her mother a bundle of joy in 2008 that will not be forgotten.
Minnesota made the former Florida Gator the seventh pick in the 2004 draft; one pick after the Lynx selected Nicole Ohlde with the sixth pick of the first round. Little did the tandem know that five years later they would be the lone remaining members of the last Lynx squad to make the playoffs. The duo has spent each of their first five years out of college with the Lynx, with Ohlde playing five seasons and Hayden-Johnson playing four. Hayden-Johnson's run with the Lynx may have came to an end in 2008 however, as the center is facing free-agency this summer.
Hayden-Johnson enjoyed her best season from the field in '08, connecting on 65-of-146 (44.5%) of her field-goal attempts. Hayden-Johnson bested her previous season high when she hit 43.3% of her shots in 2005.
2008 Game to Remember
Selecting a standout game from '08 for the former Florida Gator was pretty tough. Hayden-Johnson demonstrated her physical inside game on many occasions throughout the 2008 campaign, resulting in a number of 10-to-14-point and 5-7-rebound efforts. We'll go with the game where she did the most, with the least. In Minnesota's first game after the month-long Olympic break against Washington, the Lynx came out determined to be a factor in the playoff race. With the help of Hayden-Johnson, Minnesota overcame the long layoff to oust the Mystics 92-78 at Target Center. In the win, Hayden Johnson chipped in with 11 points (5-8 FG), nine rebounds and two blocks; the latter two being season highs. The 6-4 center did all this in a mere 12 minutes of action, proving she can still make an impact on the game with little floor time.
Final 2008 Statistics
Next up: Charde Houston