There’s no reason the Connecticut Sun can’t ride a wave of momentum to the promised land. They just have to push the waters in that direction.
Connecticut will tip off its 2020 WNBA regular-season slate Sunday against the Minnesota Lynx as a contender to win the WNBA Finals. Sure, things have changed significantly inside the Sun locker room. In fact, their locker itself room has moved 1,300 miles south from Uncasville, Conn., to IMG Academy Bradenton, Fla, where the entire season will take place. Despite the upheaval, the Sun have set out to win a first championship in franchise history.
Here are six reasons why the Sun are title contenders in the 2020 WNBA season.
1. The season is short
The coronavirus pandemic forced the WNBA to delay the start of the season for two-plus months and ultimately cut the regular-season campaign from 34 to 22 games, with a full WNBA playoffs to follow. Not only will the the reduction make every game matter more, it also will keep players fresher than they otherwise would be.
If Connecticut’s bench can contribute as much as it did last season or even more, the team’s prospects for success will be bright.
2. Revenge mission
The Sun belied WNBA analysts’ preseason predictions in 2019 by coming to within one victory of a WNBA Finals triumph. The agony of defeat has lingered among the remaining players from last season, and their determination to win will drive them throughout the season.
Furthermore, the absence of All-WNBA center Jonquel Jones, who opted out of the season, has dampened analysts’ expectations for the Sun. If the slight fuels the team as it did last season, we might see “disrespeCT,” the social-media campaign the team ran last year, yet again.
The Sun will return just six players from their 2019 roster, but their long-demonstrated commitment to building chemistry might help the newcomers to settle-in quickly and the team to gel.
4. DeWanna Bonner’s arrival
The veteran multi-dimensional forward joined the Sun in February in a sign-and-trade with the Phoenix Mercury. Her resume boasts three WNBA All-Star nods and two WNBA championships. She’s determined to add more to both and she ultimately might be the impact player capable of pushing the Sun past the finish line first.
5. Briann January and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also join the fun
Briann January and Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis also have won WNBA championships in the past. Their arrivals, plus that of Bonner potentially add enough experience and winning know-how to offset Jones’ absence and the departures of players who were key to last season’s run to the WNBA Finals.
6. Mystics and other rivals are weaker, too
The Sun fell to the Washington Mystics in the fifth, and final, game of the 2019 WNBA Finals. Mystics superstar Elena Delle Donne opted out of the season, and stars from other teams might follow suit or miss large parts of the season for any number of reasons. If that happens, and Connecticut keeps its current group relatively intact, the door to the WNBA Finals might open even wider for the Sun.
Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images