The WNBA is about to embark on its 25th season, and the Connecticut Sun are one team who would love to take home their first title to celebrate the anniversary.
That puts six teams in front of them with better chances, but we like the Sun better that that. Allow us to explain why Connecticut could be a strong title contender.
— The Sun’s experience comes to mind. Not necessarily historically, but in terms of this particular group having made deep runs.
The Sun reached the 2019 WNBA Finals, and they finished the season as the runner up. In 2020, despite a bit of roster shuffling and COVID-19 opt-outs, they made another playoff push to the quarterfinals.
They’ve been there before, and they want to go all the way.
— This offseason has been a quieter one for Connecticut, which means a lot of chemistry will remain intact.
The Sun retain most of their roster from last season with exception of Bria Holmes, who signed with Los Angeles in free agency. There’s no worry about Jonquel Jones integrating back into the rotation after missing a year to COVID-19 after what we saw from her in 2019.
— Speaking of which, Jonquel Jones and DeWanna Bonner, who joined the Sun ahead of the 2020 season, have yet to play together.
In her 2019 campaign, Jones made the All-Star, All-WNBA Defensive and All-WNBA Second Teams while leading the WNBA in rebounds and blocks. Seeing her play alongside Bonner, an All-Star in 2019 who earned All-WNBA Second Team honors in 2020, will be quite the scene this season.
It’s hard to imagine how teams will overcome their length and the way the Sun will be able to stretch the floor with them on the court.
ESPN has Jones and Bonner ranked among the best players in the WNBA right now.
— Looking at depth, Connecticut has a lot of promise off the bench. Natisha Hiedeman and sophomores Beatrice Mompremier and Kaila Charles all were called upon to start at times last season and that experience will serve them well going forward. And there’s been a lot of hype around draft pick DiJonai Carrington to make the team and add a strong defensive mentality.
— So, now we’ll discuss the elephant in the room.
Alyssa Thomas, the team’s motor, almost certainly will miss the entire 2021 season after tearing her Achilles while playing overseas this winter. Not ideal. She’s a huge loss, undoubtedly.
But as we just mentioned, a lot of players stepped up in Jones’ absence last season and we saw where that took Connecticut. They’re a better team defensively with having Jones back, and can build offense and momentum off that. But if you want to doubt them anyway because they’re without a starter this summer, that probably is fine with them.
Last time the Sun were an underdog was last season, when they came back from a brutal start to the campaign but made a run to the semifinals as a seventh seed.
So, the last reason is that they’re cool being the underdog.
Connecticut should be an exciting team to watch yet again this year, and we’re confident it has what it takes to be a contender.