MONTVILLE, Conn. — One of the biggest changes this offseason for the Connecticut Sun was the loss of star forward Chiney Ogwumike, who was traded on April 27 to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for a 2020 first-round draft pick. The trade allowed her to join her sister, Nneka, in L.A., while leaving the Sun with big shoes to fill.
It will be interesting to see what Connecticut will look like on the court this season sans Ogwumike, who played a pivotal role for the team. Forward Morgan Tuck said filling Ogwumike’s shoes will be a team effort.
“Chiney is a great player, so I don’t think you can put it on one person to fill everything that she did,” Tuck said. “Everyone can step up and do something a little bit better and I think that will make up for it. Hopefully, we can be even better (than they were before).”
Forward Alyssa Thomas agreed, adding that Ogwumike’s absence “just gives people an opportunity to play.”
Several women pointed to Jonquel Jones as someone who could step up following Ogwumike’s departure. Sun guard Jasmine Thomas said losing the star forward has given Jones, who had an All-Star season during Chiney’s absence in 2017, a chance to truly shine.
Jones said she’s up for the challenge.
“I think the year that Chiney wasn’t here because of injury, I showed that I could do it and I’m not shying away from it,” she said. “I think its something that I’m definitely capable of, and it’s something that I’ve done before, so I’m ready. …
“I’m the person that will wait until everyone is done speaking and then I come up to you and just share a little bit of things. I think I’m more approachable. I like to be that way. I want to make sure our rookies feel comfortable and are in a position to succeed because we need everybody on this team.”
But with the majority of the team back for the fourth or fifth year in a row, things might not be as dire as they appear.
“I think we’ll be all right,” said four-year veteran Shekinna Stricklen.