June 16, 2020 

2020 WNBA Simulation: Connecticut Sun in contention as September approaches

The Sun end August on a four-game winning streak

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We are proud to announce a collaboration with Pivot Analysis to bring you a simulated 2020 WNBA season, based on the schedule as originally written. We’ll be reporting on it, and speaking to league figures out the sim season, as we await the return to play. See the full results, box scores and standings, continually updated, here.

Jonquel Jones (Photo by Domenic Allegra).

While the Connecticut Sun hit a midseason slump, the team surged back after the Olympic break winning five of their six games in August, marking their first winning streak since June. 

The Sun had two narrow losses to teams ranked above them, losing 92-90 to the Washington Mystics on July 5 and 94-89 to the Chicago Sky on August 19.

However, Connecticut rebounded from their loss to the Sky with a 109-79 win against the Los Angeles Sparks.  This win started the team’s four-game win streak that they’ll take with them into the month of September. 

Here  are three takeaways from July and August: 

DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones share the spotlight

DeWanna Bonner averages 15.8 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals per game. Jonquel Jones averages 16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 rebounds per game. 

The Sun’s offense allows for both Bonner and Jones to succeed and play their best basketball. The dynamic duo also work to keep their opponents off the glass. 

Both will have to continue to play at the top of their game, but not overshadow each other, if the team is to move up the standings and make a playoff push. 

There were many questions about how the two stars would play together but it’s clear the two complement each other on the court. 

Natisha Hiedeman is pushing to make an impact in her second season 

Natisha Hiedeman was thrust into playing double-digit minutes during games early in her career. 

Despite her numbers being slightly lower this season, Hiedeman has still scored in double figures twice this season, including on August 30 against the Indiana Fever. 

She has an innate ability to do whatever needs to be done, from getting her teammate the ball or blocking a shot. At 5-foot-7 she has still recorded two blocks this season. 

With 10 games in 20 games, Hiedeman will likely be called upon more while the starters are rested. 

Alyssa Thomas continues her defensive dominance 

Alyssa Thomas is fourth in the league averaging 1.4 steals per game and has had just one game without a steal this season. 

While the Sun’s offense may often be the focus, Thomas’ defensive skills have been critical during her time with the team. 

The 2019 WNBA All-Defensive Second Team member also averages 6.4 rebounds per game. 

If Thomas can continue her dominance through the end of the season the Sun could push themselves up the standings before the end of the season. 

The Sun remain in fourth with 10 games left to play, behind the Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics and the Dallas Wings. 

Connecticut will have to play the Wings twice and the Mystics once before the end of the regular season. 

With the top four teams so close anything can happen. 

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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