Sun could be down two starters against Storm
The Connecticut Sun are used to playing without Jonquel Jones. They did it last year when she opted out of the season because of the pandemic.
Connecticut will be without Jones for an indefinite period of time due to overseas commitments, and head coach Curt Miller was recently asked if last year’s experience helps.
“No,” Miller deadpanned before laughing.
The Sun play their first game without Jones on Sunday when they host the Seattle Storm at Mohegan Sun Arena (2 p.m., no TV).
They may also be without forward DeWanna Bonner, their second-leading scorer (16.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg). She was listed as questionable on the team's injury report Saturday due to a lower back issue that flared up on Friday.
Jones left the Sun last Sunday to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina at this month's FIBA Women's EuroBasket tournament being held in France and Spain. Jones, who was born and raised in the Bahamas, has Bosnian citizenship and will miss a minimum of four games and as many as six, depending on how her team does.
Jones has been a big reason why Connecticut (8-2) has the league’s second-best record. The 6-foot-6 post was the league’s third-leading scorer prior to Saturday’s games (21.6 ppg) and tops in rebounding (10.4 rpg). She’s also been one of the most efficient three-point shooters (48.9 percent).
“(She’s an) unicorn,” Miller said. “Six-foot-six (and) can shoot threes. … No one person is going to replace that.
Connecticut has had more than enough time to rest and prepare for the Storm. The Sun haven't played since June 5. They certainly needed the rest after starting the season with the league’s most hectic schedule, playing their first nine games in 19 days, five of which were on the road. The team was given last Sunday and Monday off.
“I definitely didn’t rest,” Bonner said Tuesday. “I overdid it like a vacation.”
Reserve posts Beatrice Mompremier and Stephanie Jones figure to play more minutes during Jonquel Jones’ absence. Fellow reserve DiJonai Carrington, a 6-foot wing who isn’t afraid to mix it up inside, should also see more minutes.
The Sun also signed forward Emma Cannon to a replacement contract on Monday to give it 10 healthy players. She was with the team during their 2019 training camp before being waived.
“We know what we are going to get,” Miller said about Cannon. “We’re going to get a veteran who plays hard, likes to screen, likes to be physical, likes to rebound.”
“Everybody has to take a little (more) ownership of everything. Everyone’s got to be on the glass a little bit more. … It’s going to be a group effort. You don’t replace one of the elite players in this league (Jones) with just one person.”
Seattle has the league’s best record (9-2). The Storm have won two of the last three WNBA titles and are led by guards Sue Bird and Jewell Loyd and forward Breanna Stewart.
The Storm won the first game against Connecticut at home on May 25, 90-87 in overtime. Their transition game was the difference as they outscored the Sun on fast-break points, 26-8.