Sun look to get back to winning ways
It has been a rough time of late for Connecticut Sun Curt Miller and his family. His mother had a stroke on June 13, which Miller found out about minutes before a game against the Seattle Storm. He spent most of last week in Pennsylvania with her and family members.
Miller watched Connecticut’s two losses at the Chicago Sky from afar, which gave him a different perspective on things.
“The interesting aspect of being in the living room watching a game and not on the sideline is (the game) slows down,” Miller said. “You certainly see things more clearly. You’re not as emotional with the officials. You’re not as emotional and caught up with the emotion of the game. It was very easy to see things.”
The Sun are on a three-game losing streak, some of which can be attributed to the absence of star post Jonquel Jones. They play host to the Dallas Wings on Tuesday night (7, NESN Plus).
Connecticut (8-5) had been one of the hottest teams in the WNBA prior to its losing streak. It hadn’t lost consecutive games, and both losses were on the road in overtime. One was at defending champion Seattle (90-87, May 25).
The Sun were routed at home by the Storm on June 13 (89-66). They lost at Chicago on Thursday (81-75) and Saturday (91-81).
“You can point to turnovers,” Miller said. “You can point to inefficiency on too many possessions offensively. It’s not just one thing. It’s a combination of things when you come up short.”
Connecticut averaged 81.4 points and 37.5 rebounds through June 12. It was also second in the league in defensive field goal percentage (40.1) and first in points allowed (72.5).
The Sun have averaged 75.5 points and 32.3 rebounds during its losing streak. Seattle and Chicago combined to average 87 points and shoot 46.6-percent.
Some of those problems can be attributed to Jones being away. The 6-foot-6 post has been playing for the Bosnia and Herzegovina national team at the FIBA Women’s EuroBasket in France and Spain and had an enormous impact. She had 24 points, 17 rebounds and five assists to lead Bosnia and Herzegovina past Croatia on Monday, 80-69, and to its first EuroBasket quarterfinal. She’s the tournament’s leading scorer (20.8 ppg) and rebounder (14.5 rpg).
Bosnia plays France on Wednesday.
Jones has had just as big an impact on the Sun. She’s averaged 21.6 points (second in the league), 10.4 rebounds (first) and tied for sixth in three-pointers made per game (with Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury).
Connecticut’s turnover problems are another matter entirely. It averaged 14.3 (for 13.5 points) through 10 games.
The Sun have averaged 17.3 turnovers since June 13, worst in the league over that time. Opponents averaged 22 points off them.
“I had a really good conversation with the team (Monday), just (about) life lessons through hardships,” Miller said. “We learn so many life lessons (that way). I’ve learned so much over the last week with my mom’s stroke, and basketball teaches you so many life lessons, the highs and the lows. You can never be too high. You can never be too low. When you win games, when you’re result driven, you’re doing yourself a disservice. When we were 8-2, we would do ourselves a disservice if I didn’t see some of the warts, if we didn’t seem some of the slippage in those 10 games.
“It’s never as good as you think when you win, and it’s never as bad as you think when you lose.”
Stories that may interest you
Connecticut Sun Jonquel Jones earned her first WNBA MVP award, teammate Brionna Jones was named Most Improved Player and Curt Miller won his second Coach of the Year award, the WNBA announced Tuesday morning.
The top-seeded Connecticut Sun has used defense, rebounding, and more defense to reach the WNBA semifinals. They host the No. 6 Chicago Sky on Tuesday in Game 1 of a best-of-five series.
The Connecticut Sun's Briann January and Jonquel Jones both earned WNBA All-Defensive First Team honors while Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas both made second team.