The Connecticut Sun are prepared to kick off the 2022 season with a valuable member of its team still playing overseas.
DeWanna Bonner, who started every game for Connecticut a season ago, won’t be available when it tips off the season on Saturday at 7 p.m. ET against the New York Liberty. Bonner’s season overseas with Turkey-based CBK Mersin Yeniseheir is ongoing, which will force the Sun to begin the campaign, and possibly for an even longer period of time, without its four-time All-Star.
“We know DeWanna Bonner will arrive back late from Turkey and could be significantly late,” Sun coach and general manager Curt Miller said at the team’s media day on Wednesday.
Miller didn’t have any further details about Bonner’s timetable to return, leaving when exactly she’ll make her 2022 season debut with the Sun in doubt.
“I can’t get more specific other than TBD,” Miller said. “We just don’t know. She is still in the playoffs in Turkey on a very talented team that won handily in Game 1 of their semifinal series. So, I wish I could tell you and I wish she was here, but she’s not and that’s the reality and everybody’s got to step up in her replacement.”
Bonner is a key cog for a Connecticut squad that went 26-6 last season before bowing out in the semifinal round of the playoffs. The 6-foot-4 combo guard, who is coming up on her 13th year in the WNBA and third campaign with the Sun, averaged a healthy 15.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game last season.
With Bonner out of the lineup for the time being, and with guard Courtney Williams suspended for the first two games of the season, Miller will have a shorthanded roster at his disposal and two big voids to fill.
“So we’re going to play those first two games in the season with nine people so that’s a challenge as you put together this opening roster,” Miller said, “and trying not to be prisoner at the moment and think big picture on maybe what is best.”
The Sun will kick off its season Saturday against the New York Liberty. Connecticut then will return to action May 14 against the Los Angeles Sparks, a game you can watch on NESN+ starting at 7 p.m. ET.