May 24, 2024 

Inside the Connecticut Sun’s league-leading offense 

Five Sun players are averaging double-figures as the Connecticut Sun remain the only undefeated team in the league

Five Sun players are averaging double-figures as Connecticut remains the only undefeated team in the league.  

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After the first two weeks of the season, the Connecticut Sun hold a 4-0 record and the second-best offensive rating in the league. Their 108.9 rating ranks second among twelve WNBA teams — and is a marked improvement from last year’s 105.4 mark, which ranked fourth overall. 

So how did they get here? 

The answer is rooted in balance and a team-first style of play: all five Sun starters are currently averaging double-figures, typically prioritizing the pass and the right read ahead of their own offense: DeWanna Bonner, DiJonai Carrington, Alyssa Thomas, Tyasha Harris, and Brionna Jones are each scoring at least 10.5 points this season.

Two of those names were surefire scorers heading into the 2024 season; Bonner and Harris have been consistent double-figure scorers throughout their career. Bonner averaged a career-high 17.4 points per game last season, while Thomas averaged 15.5 points. 

But it’s the Sun’s starting backcourt of Harris and Carrington that has made a tremendous offensive leap. Carrington, who came off the bench for Connecticut last season and averaged 8.3 points per game, has become a reliable scorer for the Sun. And Harris, who played even more limited minutes in a bench role, averaged 5.8 points per game last season, but is currently in the midst of an offensive breakout.

Both have stepped up in the wake of bigger opportunities this season. Tyasha Harris was key in both wins against the Fever, scoring 16 points in each. Four games into the season, Harris is averaging 11 points and shooting 47% from three. And Carrington is scoring 14.8 a night. 

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At the same time, Brionna Jones has become increasingly comfortable as she ramps up her minutes in her return from an Achilles rupture. On Thursday, in an overtime victory against the Minnesota Lynx, Jones had a season-high 19 points on 8-13 FG, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. She’s now averaging 10.5 points on 56.7% shooting. 

“I’m just trying to get my wind back every game, so just steadily increasing the minutes,” Jones said after a season-high 27 minutes. “I feel good, I felt good out there.”

And DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas haven’t missed a beat from last season; Bonner is averaging 21 points on 50% shooting, while Thomas is scoring 17 a night on 48.8% shooting alongside 17 points and 10.5 rebounds. It’s ultimately their play that’s fundamental to Connecticut’s read-and-react offense, but players like Harris and Carrington have played off them quite well.

“They make timely plays, whether that’s on offense or defense,” head coach Stephanie White said of the Bonner, Thomas, and Jones.

The Connecticut Sun’s DeWanna Bonner and Alyssa Thomas smile on the court.
Connecticut Sun forwards DeWanna Bonner (24) and Alyssa Thomas (25) smile during a game against the Chicago Sky at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on June 25, 2023. (Photo credit: Chris Poss | The Next)

Four games into the season, different players on the roster have had their moment in the spotlight. In Game 1, it was Carrington, who had the highly-anticipated Caitlin Clark defensive assignment. She forced Clark to a franchise-high 10 turnovers. While Carrington struggled offensively on Thursday night against the Lynx, it’s clear she’s made an offensive leap this season. 

In a May 20th match-up with the Fever, it was Tyasha Harris who was instrumental down the stretch. She scored 8 points in the final three minutes as the Sun pulled away with a 4-point win. Harris converted on an and-one layup for the Sun to take the lead with 2:51 to play. Then, she hit the go-ahead free throws with 11 seconds left. 

“I got to give it up to my teammates,” Harris said. “They instill confidence in me continuously, over and over and over again. I missed a couple shots at the beginning, but with them, I can’t get down on myself. I got to be ready for the moment.”

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And while the Fever looked close to stealing one, behind Harris and others, the Sun were able to pull it off. Then, just a few days later, the Sun pulled off an overtime win against the Lynx thanks to game-winning free throws by Bonner and a huge three-pointer by Rachel Banham that tied things up with 40 seconds to play. Banham is only averaging 5.3 points per game, but the confidence to hit that three highlights just how many offensive options Connecticut has.

“We have a veteran group who understand execution in crunch-time situations,” Stephanie White said. “We’ve got versatility, so we’re able to move players around.” 

Three of Connecticut’s wins have been close ones, but late-game execution has been strong. 

“We have lofty expectations here, and we’ve got a competitive group that hates to lose,” White said. “You see that in the intensity of how they play.”

Opposing coaches have taken notice of the Sun’s numerous offensive options. “The Connecticut Sun are a good team,” Fever coach Christy Sides said after the two teams first faced off. “Give them all the credit, my gosh. They have all the weapons.”  

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Written by Noa Dalzell

Noa Dalzell covers the Boston Celtics for SB Nation's CelticsBlog, and the Connecticut Sun for The Next Hoops. Her work has also appeared in FanSided and Swish Appeals, as well as CLNS Media. When she's not writing about basketball, she's playing basketball or lobbying for a more sustainable food system.

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