February 3, 2024
Connecticut Sun add Moriah Jefferson, Astou Ndour-Fall on busy Saturday
Rebecca Allen departs in sign-and-trade
The Connecticut Sun traded for veteran point guard Moriah Jefferson and signed center/forward Astou Ndour-Fall on Saturday. In exchange for Jefferson, they sent wing Rebecca Allen to the Phoenix Mercury in a sign-and-trade.
Jefferson was selected No. 2 overall by the San Antonio Stars in the 2016 WNBA Draft and made the WNBA All-Rookie Team that season. Other stops in her seven-year WNBA career include Dallas, Minnesota and Phoenix.
After knee injuries set Jefferson back in 2019 and 2020, the shifty 5’6 point guard has played in at least 29 games in each of the past three seasons. She has a quick pull-up jumper and knack for penetrating the lane. In 2022, as a member of the Minnesota Lynx, she became one of 15 players in WNBA history to record a triple-double.
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In her lone season with Phoenix last year, Jefferson averaged 10.5 points, 3.6 assists, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 steals per game.
“We are excited to add Moriah to our team,” Sun head coach Stephanie White said in the team’s press release. “She gives us an experienced guard that can impact the game on both ends with her speed, quickness and playmaking ability.”
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Jefferson heads back to the state of Connecticut after playing for UConn from 2012 to 2016. She and classmates Morgan Tuck and Breanna Stewart won four national championships and secured the most wins by a senior class in NCAA history with a 151-5 record.
“We are overjoyed to welcome Moriah back to the Connecticut community and the Sun organization,” Sun general manager Darius Taylor said in the release. “She will have an immediate impact on the court and in the locker room.”
The 6’5 Ndour-Fall has played six WNBA seasons, most recently in 2021 for the championship-winning Chicago Sky. That season, she averaged 6.6 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.1 minutes per game, mostly off the bench.
“Astou brings an all-around dimension to our team with her length, experience and ability to stretch the floor,” Taylor said in a separate press release. “We look forward to her coming back to the W in a Connecticut Sun uniform and providing depth in the paint.”
These moves add to several offseason moves the Sun have already made. On Jan. 18, they extended a core qualifying offer to forward Brionna Jones, which is still pending. On Jan. 31, they acquired guard Tiffany Mitchell from Minnesota in exchange for point guard Natisha Hiedeman, and on Feb. 1, they signed guard Rachel Banham.
Jefferson’s addition helps shore up the point guard position for the Sun after Hiedeman’s departure, while Banham and Mitchell can help compensate for losing Allen. Allen shot 34.8% from 3-point range last season and used her length to great effect defensively. Ndour-Fall, a career 32.0% 3-point shooter, also provides some shooting and adds size to the Sun frontcourt.
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Jefferson’s protected contract runs through 2025 and will pay her $141,500 this season. Ndour-Fall, meanwhile, signed a one-year protected contract worth $125,000. Banham and Mitchell join franchise cornerstone Alyssa Thomas on protected contracts, accounting for five of the maximum six protected veterans each team is allowed.
Jones’ core qualifying offer also counts against the Sun’s salary cap right now. It is a protected, one-year supermax offer. That means Connecticut can’t sign anyone other than Jones to a protected deal unless Jones and the Sun first negotiate a contract that isn’t protected.
Overall, the Sun currently have nine players signed to contracts (excluding training camp contracts) and just over $431,000 in cap space remaining. If Jones signs at the supermax, the Sun will have about $189,000 to spend on one or two additional players.