The first few weeks have been all about the Las Vegas Aces for good reason, but now I welcome you to their best competition (so far). Though the teams split back-to-back games in Vegas, a fire has been lit for the Sun.
The Sun are on a wildly good stretch
Following the seven-point loss to the Aces in the first matchup, the Sun ran through a gauntlet of a west coast trip. On Thursday, they beat the Aces by seven points, the next night they toppled the Mercury, 92-88, and two nights later came a seven-point win over the Storm.
Folks, they’re back.
The JONQUEL JONES, Jonquel Jones is here
It’s been a shockingly slow start for last year’s MVP, but it makes more sense given the context. Alyssa Thomas, one of the league’s best players so far this season, only played a handful of playoff games last year and the team is just starting to learn what it has with all of its forwards and centers on the floor at the same time.
This trip has really awakened the 6’6 do-it-all, though. A quick peek at her week:
- 6/2 vs. Aces: 20 points 7/9 FGs, 4/6 3s, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
- 6/3 vs. Mercury: 24 points 6/8 FGs, 3/4 3s, 7 rebounds
- 6/5 vs. Storm: 25 points, 10/17 FGs, 1/5 3s, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 block
- 5 turnovers in all 3 games combined
Connecticut’s found an answer to the Jasmine Thomas injury
There’s no way to replace exactly what Thomas can give as a veteran play-making guard with elite defensive skills, but the Sun are freelancing alternatives and landed on a combination that’s working right now. Natisha Hiedeman as a floor-spacing starter and Dijonai Carrington as her scoring-minded replacement have been the fix.
Hiedeman put up 18 points with eight assists against the Aces and Mercury combined, while Carrington exploded for 12 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting against the Storm. Connecticut is 5-2 since Thomas’s season-ending ACL tear.
The postseason looms, always
Yes, reader, I’m not here to overhype what regular season success means for the Sun. We’ve seen that grow meaningless in their last two playoff runs, but I can only see what’s in front of me: Connecticut’s the second-best team in the W.