Hey, what happened to the Von Trapp Family atmosphere of the Connecticut Sun?
Mohegan — Their last time here at Mohegan Sun Arena, two weeks ago, rendered a different Connecticut Sun. They spoke often of this “healthy culture” here in Neon Uncasville.
Indeed. The Von Trapp Family of the WNBA: “Jump shots and high tops and wins that get sweeter; ankle breakers and shot makers and timely buzzer beaters … these are a few of our favorite things.”
And now they have returned, but one game above .500, with a culture perhaps suggesting the Von Trapps became their own reality TV show.
Alex Bentley? Traded.
Courtney Williams? Didn’t play a game on the four-game road trip in which the Sun finished a crisp 1-3.
Coincidence? You decide. WNBAinsidr.com reported Sunday evening that Williams and Bentley had a “physical altercation in a public location” sometime between the Sun’s last home game (June 27) and road game in Seattle on July 1.
Clarification? None forthcoming from the franchise.
All we know is that Williams didn’t play because of a “personal matter.”
I asked Williams, who will play in today’s matinee against New York, if she regretted any of her recent actions after Tuesday’s practice.
“I don’t really want to talk about the past week,” Williams said. “I just want to get back going on the court.”
Hmmm. I was hoping for something more along the lines of, “I realize that my actions, in part, kept me off the court in three games we lost and I can’t let that happen again.”
But then, there I go with more uncontrolled idealism.
Not sure about you, but I’m starting to wonder whether the Sun haven’t been full of prunes from the beginning about their enviable “culture.”
Admittedly, they’ve been on the road for 13 of their last 16 games. You never know about people until you travel with them. They’ve had some injuries, most notably to forward Alyssa Thomas, whose absence all but proved she is the team’s Most Valuable Player.
Still, Las Vegas coach Bill Laimbeer might not have been wrong when he called the Sun “frontrunners” the other night after the Aces rallied to win. And let’s face it: When Bill Laimbeer becomes the Voice Of Reason, it’s time to stack the chairs on the tables, hang sheets on the chandeliers and hose down the fire. We have reached the end.
“Bill said, ‘It’s a Connecticut team that when things are going well they can be really good,’” Sun coach Curt Miller said. “Bill said, ‘But how will they be through some adversity in a game?’ And we didn’t get that one last run (Saturday night) in Vegas. Bill kind of called us on it.”
The sad part: Who are we to argue? Maybe they are frontrunners. Rainbows and lollipops … until they’re replaced by salt and vinegar. And who are the Sun to argue, either? Until they show us some fortitude, we may have to (gulp) bow at the altar of Laimbeer.
I get that Miller believes the foundation to success is built from the locker room out. Clearly, there must have been something amiss in this locker room this season that the veterans missed. Or benignly neglected. So what happens during the next dust up? Does a leader emerge?
“When we were 7-1, I asked our team, ‘are we as close as we could be, as we need to be?’” Miller said. “I know this team is close when we win, but is this team going to stay together through stretches that every team goes through in this league?”
I asked Miller how the players answered.
“There wasn’t a lot of verbal confirmation,” he said. “A lot of nodding. But until they’re out in those situations, with injuries mounting, losses mounting and the travel, you don’t really know. Now looking back, I think they look at me thinking that I may have seen something or felt something they didn’t.”
There is ample season left. Lots of home games. No true need to panic. But some warts have emerged. Is there a leader here? Is Williams, among the most talented players, truly trustworthy? Are they really frontrunners?
Guess we’ll all find out together.
Maybe we shouldn’t be so interested anymore in what we hear.
It’ll be what we see.
This is the opinion of Day sports columnist Mike DiMauro
Stories that may interest you
If the Cuban government was watching that definitive day now 18 years ago, well, let's just say Brayan Pena wouldn't be managing the Connecticut Tigers today.