The Connecticut Sun might not see the official union of its Big Three this season, but there still is plenty of talent left on the roster to compensate.
Alyssa Thomas leaves behind some massive shoes to fill after undergoing surgery to repair an injured Achilles this offseason. The woman fondly known as “The Engine” is out indefinitely and likely will miss the entire 2021 campaign, forcing Connecticut to find other ways to make ends meet.
Luckily, this team is bursting at the seams with skill.
Finding the perfect lineup is no small task for any team, let alone one down perhaps its most impactful athlete. Head coach Curt Miller proved his ability to effectively fill the gaps during Jonquel Jones’ absence in 2020 and now faces a similar situation with Thomas. The roster is different and the needs have changed, but in the end, the goal is the same: take home the franchise’s first-ever WNBA title.
With all of this in mind, here is whomight step up and surprise Sun fans with their 2021 performance.
WHO MIGHT STEP UP
Hiedeman’s role has grown steadily throughout her time with Connecticut, and that trend likely will continue this season. She nearly doubled her average point output between 2019 (3.7 per game) and 2020 (6.1 per game) as one of the Sun’s key bench players. She is sure to continue her supporting role this season, no matter where she’ll play.
Expectations are fairly high for this 23-year-old after all of the offseason hype surrounding her while she prepares for her first-ever WNBA season. On top of posting 16 points, five rebounds and an assist in Saturday’s scrimmage against the Dallas Wings, Carrington has received high praise from some of her veteran teammates like Thomas and DeWanna Bonner. Barring any drastic changes, she should slot in nicely into Connecticut’s lineup, though it isn’t exactly clear where just yet.
Charles still has room to grow but also has plenty of promise. She averaged 5.4 points on 41.2 percent shooting and 2.6 rebounds in 21 games (seven starts) in 2020 and has the potential to build off that in 2021. Her role last season was a bit inconsistent, though she showed flashes of brilliance in key moments. It will be interesting to see what she will bring to the table this go-around despite her somewhat flat performance (two points, three rebounds, two assists) in Saturday’s scrimmage.
WHO MIGHT SURPRISE YOU
Maryland head coach Brenda Frese called Jones “Miss Consistency” during her time with the Terps, and we just got a glimpse as to why. The 22-year-old came two rebounds shy of a double-double during the Sun-Wings scrimmage with an impressive 10 rebounds, eight rebounds and three assists. She already seems to be following in the footsteps of her older sister, Brionna, and it might not take long for her to catch up.
Mompremier’s role with the Sun seesawed in 2020, but she has a chance to prove herself in 2021. Her defensive skillset began to emerge down the stretch last season, and it remained visible during Saturday’s scrimmage, though the rest of her performance as starting center (four points, four rebounds) left some to be desired. There could be more in the tank than we’re able to see at the moment, and if she finds her stride, Connecticut could have something dangerous on its hands.