Sun host Mystic minus head coach Curt Miller
The Connecticut Sun are having quite the week.
The Sun announced Friday that head coach Curt Miller and assistant Brandi Poole will both miss Saturday night’s home game against the Washington Mystics due to “health and safety protocols.”
Assistant Chris Koclanes is the next man up and will be acting head coach for the Sun (5-2). Koclanes is in his seventh season with the franchise, including the last five as an assistant.
Connecticut began the week with longtime starting point guard Jasmine Thomas tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during Sunday’s game at the Indiana Fever.
The Sun are also nearing the halfway point of a hectic schedule in which they’ll play nine times in 17 days. The next few games are especially tough, too. Washington (6-2) is second in the overall WNBA standings. The third-place Sun go on the road next week and play four times in six days, including two against the league-leading Las Vegas Aces (7-1) next Tuesday and Thursday night.
Connecticut is still among the league’s most talented teams, regardless of injuries and illnesses. It showed that Thursday night when it took down the Dallas Wings 99-68 two days after it wasted a double-digit halftime lead and lost.
Five players scored in double figures for the Sun, led by starting forward DeWanna Bonner (18 points, six rebounds).
“We (got) a little bit from everyone tonight,” Miller said after the game. “It was nice to see DeWanna step up. It’s been a tough stretch for her coming back from Turkey (on May 13) and running down south to grab her children and be back. Really pleased to see DeWanna play well tonight.”
Natisha Hiedeman and reserve DiJonai Carrington also continue to evolve. Hiedeman, a fourth-year guard, has taken over as the starting point guard and scored eight of her 17 points in the first quarter. She also had six assists and three steals.
“Natisha really set the stage for us,” Miller said. “Natisha is always going to be confident at the offensive end. She can distribute. She can shoot it. She can create a lot of things. I think she’s comfortable at that end.
“I see a passion in her to want to defend and that’s the first part of good defense, a will, a desire, and she has that right now. She, stil,l at times is going to get overpowered by some of these guards. She smaller (5-foot-8, 135 pounds) but she’s fighting.”
Carrington, a second-year guard, added 13 points, five rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes.
“At halftime when we challenged our bench that had some disappointing stretches (in the first half),” Miller said. “DiJonai comes out and redeems the bench.”
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