August 6, 2020
As the Connecticut Sun improve, they’re still trying to put it all together
'We just have to figure out how to win'
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PALMETTO, FL – AUG 4: Jasmine Thomas #5 of the Connecticut Sun handles the ball against the Seattle Storm on August 4, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images)
“If we go 0-22 that’s tough to swallow for these pros, but we were better tonight,” head coach Curt Miller said after Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Storm.
Miller focused on positives after the game. Even so, the Connecticut Sun fell to 0-5 after losing 87-74 to the Storm.
“I know the scoreboard looks worse than [a] single-digit loss but we grew so much tonight. We had 22 assists on 30 baskets. We really shared the ball, we moved the ball more. That sounds like last year, 22 assists on 30 baskets,” Miller said.
Despite the slow start for the team, they are just focused on getting better. Jasmine Thomas acknowledged that the team knows it’s not playing its best.
“And to still be in games and say at the end like we could have had that one, that’s not a terrible situation to be in,” she said. “We just have to figure out how to win … We just have to find a way to not let one mistake turn into two to three to five and really flip that momentum and not get defeated, once we get down.”
Turnovers Plagued the Sun
The Sun had 14 turnovers, which the Storm turned into 20 points. Miller noted that Seattle is difficult to stop in transition, making the turnovers what he referred to as a “double whammy.”
“They’re empty possessions and you can’t keep them for scoring,” he said. “When we got Seattle in the half-court, we did a really really good job. I mean, Jewell’s gonna make some tough shots Stewart’s gonna make some tough shots but in the half-court we defended well for the most part, too.”
Despite talking about turnovers at halftime, the team opened up the third quarter with two turnovers.
While no win will come easy in the league, limiting turnovers will be key for the Sun as they continue the search for their first win.
Brionna Jones has proved she has a place as a center in this league
After playing tentatively in the first three games, Brionna Jones stepped up, including an emphatic 11 first-quarter points against Seattle.
Jones, who finished with 20 points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block, says the difference was her being more aggressive. Her goal going forward is to take the pressure off of Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner, so that they’ll have easier shots.
She also made the first three of her WNBA career Tuesday night, after going 3-11 from behind the arc during the 2019-2020 season with ZVVZ USK Praha.
Jones has been working on her three-point shot and said that Tuesday was the first day it felt natural to take the shot without forcing it.
As she begins to incorporate longer-range shots and continues to confidently take the reins of the offense the Sun will have another consistent scorer, something they need before they take the next step forward.
Miller has been impressed with how Jones has played against the different post players she has matched up against, saying, “She plays against all these guys all year round and puts up monster numbers overseas. So she’s more than capable … So she’s just gaining confidence and this is what this year is for her without JJ coming.”
Sun see the most balanced scoring for the first time this season
Connecticut had nine players score Tuesday night, their most balanced scoring night of the season.
Alyssa Thomas added 15, Jasmine Thomas quietly added 11 and Natisha Hiedeman had 8 points in her first career start.
Hiedeman replaced Bria Holmes, who started the first four games of the season, and though Miller didn’t expect to play Hiedeman for 33 minutes, he thinks she played well on and off the ball. He also thought Homes provided the team good energy coming off the bench. Holmes was successful coming off the bench last year, but wasn’t able to replicate the success starting this season.
While Miller said they will evaluate the starting lineup in the future, this change may be what the team needs in order to get their first win.
The Sun continue their quest for the team’s first win Thursday at 8 p.m. EST against the Dallas Wings.
Written by Natalie Heavren
Natalie Heavren has been a contributor to The Next since February 2019 and currently writes about the Atlantic 10 conference, the WNBA and the WBL.
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