July 31, 2020 

The Connecticut Sun are a “work in progress”

What needs to change for the Sun to start winning?

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Connecticut Sun v Los Angeles SparksPALMETTO, FL – JULY 30: DeWanna Bonner #24 of the Connecticut Sun shoots the ball against the Los Angeles Sparks on July 30, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via GettyImages).

The Connecticut Sun are 0-3. But as head coach Curt Miller explained wearily after Thursday night’s 81-76 loss to the Los Angeles Sparks, fixing what’s ailing his team isn’t as simple as getting back onto the practice floor. 

“It’s like a new team all over again and we just don’t have time to practice,” Miller told reporters following the game. “You know, it’s just, it’s a brutal schedule for these players,” Miller said. 

The same issues plagued the team as in their previous two games, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna Bonner had big games, but the rest of the team struggled to find their shot. The team was just 15-40 inside the paint, missing layups throughout the game and shot 67.9 percent from the free throw line. 

However, the team hasn’t panicked yet. 

Miller is proud of his team’s effort but said that it’s been a work in progress in terms of execution on the floor. 

Miller does not have a simple solution to fix the execution errors but instead is looking to continue to build continuity, continue to let his team shake off the rust, and have his team build trust within scoring when things aren’t going well. 

Thomas believes that Bonner is carrying the team and the rest of the players need to be more aggressive and do the little things better. She also acknowledged that this team is a work in progress.

“We’re playing an unorthodox lineup this year,” she said. “So, we need to figure out how to put people in places to be successful. And right now I don’t think we’ve done that. So we need to figure out what offense is going to work for us this year, and move the ball and be able to have people get comfortable.”

Though Thomas struggled shooting, going just 2-for-12 from the floor she was still able to make an impact with 18 rebounds and 8 assists in addition to her 10 points. She proved that making shots is just one aspect of the game and it’s possible to still contribute while having an off night. 

This is an important lesson for Sun players while they continue to try to find their shot because as fatigue begins to take a toll it will be more and more difficult for Thomas and Bonner to carry the load. 

Miller noted that he can’t ask any more of Bonner and Thomas, which means that the rest of the team will need to step up. 

Despite playing all 40 minutes last game Bonner stepped up and had 34 points, 14 points and 6 assists in 38 minutes. She said that she is trying to do whatever it takes to win, even playing extended minutes. 

However, according to Bonner, it isn’t about winning and losing right now, as she made clear in her message to Sun fans.

“I just want to get better,” she said. “I’m trying to bond with my teammates. The wins will come. This year, next year, whenever. I promise you that. Connecticut, stay with us. Just watch. Just sit back and watch. We’re alright.”

While Miller’s not sure when the team’s hard work will pay off, he believes the time will come eventually. 

“We’ve been in every game, ultimately, as we get a little bit better, that’s going to bode well at some point,” he said. “And we know we were realistic about this year we’re not talking about big picture stuff. We’ve got to get better on a daily basis.”

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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