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    CT Sun
    Monday, January 30, 2023

    Well-rested Sun get back to work against Liberty

    The Connecticut Sun have done two things the past few days that they hadn't been able to do in weeks — practice and rest.

    Connecticut had the most frenzied schedule to start the WNBA season, playing nine games in 19 days. The Sun played five road games before any other team did, including three in five days on the West Coast. Their off days were spent traveling, and fatigue became a factor.

    The Sun haven't played since Tuesday and got the following day off. They get back at it again tonight when they host the resurgent New York Liberty on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena (7, NESN, YES).

    "It was kind of weird," Connecticut Sun DeWanna Bonner said. "We got spoiled a little bit (the past few days). Man, we actually got to practice today. It's just a different schedule and I like it."

    The Sun's busy schedule didn't keep them from winning. They have the league's second-best record (7-2) with their only two losses being in overtime. Post Jonquel Jones was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for May earlier this week, too.

    Connecticut will get to enjoy a very long break after the New York game as it won't play again until Sunday, June 13 when it hosts the defending champion Seattle Storm.

    "The best part to me is we got to practice," Sun head coach Curt Miller said about not playing for three days. "Now (the team) all think that we practiced too long and too hard the past two days.

    "There were two good practices after a day off. I feel better being on the floor working with them (at practice). That's what I enjoy so much about the game is teaching. They're rested. (It's) nice to be in your own bed for consecutive nights, but it's also nice to be back on the practice floor."

    New York (5-3) has been one of the league's best stories early in this WNBA season. Its previous three years were awful, including a 2-20 finish last summer during the abbreviated season.

    Sabrina Ionescu and Betnijah Laney have helped reinvigorate the Liberty. Ionescu, the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, played just two games last season due to an ankle injury. She's averaging 14.8 points, 7.4 assists and 6.9 rebounds this season.

    Laney has been of the best free agent signings after earning Most Improved Player honors playing for the Atlanta Dream last year. She was the league's fourth-leading scorer prior to Friday's games (22.4 ppg) and also averages 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds.

    New York leads the league in three-point attempts (27.8 per game) and three-point shooting percentage (41.4).

    "They're playing tremendous basketball," Miller said. "(They've) brought a unique style to our league last year and you can see it really starting to develop now. Position-less basketball. Undersized basketball. (They) spread you out (and) live a lot with threes and layups. ... They don't overcomplicate things and play a very unique style that you don't see around the league."

    n.griffen@theday.com 

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