Sun have suddenly become offensive
Things change fast for everyone involved in this abbreviated WNBA season.
Take the Connecticut Sun for instance. They couldn’t shoot straight through their first five games and were getting offensive production from just a few players.
Connecticut, since last Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings, has drastically changed for the better offensively. The teams meet again on Wednesday (7 p.m., CBS Sports Network) at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
The Sun averaged 75.8 points during their first 0-5 start in franchise history.
Connecticut thumped Dallas, 91-68, in their first meeting. It was the first of three games in which they’ve scored at least 91 points.
“We’re finally putting points on the board, I think, because everyone is involved and everyone is more confident (in each other),” guard Jasmine Thomas said. “All the shots aren’t going in, but they’re better shots. The ball is moving. People are in position to be comfortable, and our chemistry is coming together. And that is what you’re seeing offensively.”
The Sun (2-6) have been one of the league’s most exciting and high scoring teams during head coach Curt Miller’s first four seasons as head coach. His offensive system was among the reasons the franchise hired him.
Any reasonable person should’ve known that Connecticut was in for a rough start this season. It has three new starters and half of their 12-woman roster is new, including two rookies. The Sun have also had four players miss at least one game to either injury or COVID-19.
Add in that WNBA training camps were a mere two weeks and it became a recipe for a struggling team. The Sun were one of two teams shooting under 40 percent prior to last Thursday (37.7).
Connecticut has averaged 92.3 points and shot 51.9 percent over its previous three games. That's better than any other team over their last three games prior to Tuesday. It was also second in assists (21).
The Sun beat the Atlanta Dream on Monday night, 93-82, tying their season-high for scoring.
“There was really good (offensive) execution in that first half,” Miller said. “Fifty-six points at halftime. A shooting percentage again that was really high. Fifty points in the paint tonight. It’s important for us to play inside-out basketball — the threes will come easier.”
Jasmine Thomas’ 3-pointer put the Sun ahead for good, 31-28, with 9 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half.
Brionna Jones made a layup with 2:54 remaining in the quarter, pushing Connecticut ahead, 50-40. It led by double digits the rest of the game.
The Sun shot 52.5 percent through three quarters and led, 81-61. That allowed the veteran starters to rest — DeWanna Bonner, Jones and Alyssa and Jasmine Thomas.
Connecticut took its largest lead, 88-63, on Natisha Hiedeman’s 3-pointer with 8:13. The Sun finished with 19 assists on 36 field goals and turned it over just nine times.
“Our offense is coming together,” Miller said. “We’re not going to play that pace throughout the game like we have the last couple of years. We’ve got to find our tempo with this group, but we can still be really efficient and good at times when we have that execution.”
The Sun also got another solid game from rookie guard Kaila Charles. She got her first career start and played the most minutes (27 minutes, 32 seconds). She had seven points, four rebounds and two steals.
“She’s one hell of a player,” Miller said. “She’s earned it (to start). ... Her motor, her toughness, her defense, is really impressive for a young pro, and her shooting is very underrated.
“We’ve got ourselves a player and we’re excited to have her.”