Alyssa Thomas has entered the WNBA concussion protocol after a questionable play against the Dream, delivering an early blow to the Sun’s season.
It appears the combination of youthful inexperience and on court machismo is preventing the team from getting some foul calls that more experienced players are getting.
“I have great respect for players that understand how to draw fouls,” Miller said to Shattered Backboard on Tuesday. “I think it is a skill set that can be developed through experience. There are great players in the WNBA who turn moderate contact into a foul against almost any opponent.”
Miller’s comments come on the heels of an opening night game that saw the Atlanta Dream shoot 21 foul shots in the first half alone. Tiffany Hayes, one of those known for being able to draw fouls, shot 12 foul shots making 11 of them for the game.
“I have called Tiffany Hayes the most underrated player in the league and she does an unbelievable job of earning foul calls,” Miller said. “I joke with our team and our media that she dies on the court each game, looking for foul calls. I hope our young pros learn the ability to earn those same types of calls. That is something I will be watching for all season.”
One player who does not seem to get the benefit of flagrant calls or reviews is Sun forward Alyssa Thomas. Thomas plays a physical game and because she is not a great foul shooter tends to receive a lot of aggressive, pounding fouls in the lane almost every game.
Unfortunately for the Sun, in the Atlanta game, Thomas suffered a concussion and has still not been approved for basketball activities. The Sun coaching staff, Miller said, was frustrated that Thomas suffered her concussion in the first game of the season and despite their requests for review of the play the refs declined to do so.
“She is a warrior out there,” Miller said about Thomas, “she never tries to sell a call but she always seeks contact. She doesn’t always get calls I think she deserves because she plays through contact, jumps back up immediately after hard fouls; she’s a tough person and is not intimidated by hard fouls but I worry she is the target of excessive contact since she is not a great foul shooter.”
“I think A.T. would get more reviewed calls if she stayed on the ground a little bit more,” Miller joked, “but that’s not her game.”
With Thomas in concussion protocol and possibly unavailable for Saturday’s road game against the Indiana Fever, Miller is happy to have former fever forward Lynetta Kizer. In her first game with the Sun, Kaiser pulled down seven rebounds in only 16 minutes of action. After Saturday’s game, Connecticut faces a home and home series with the always difficult Minnesota Lynx.
“It’s unfortunate, but now we have to prepare for the immediate future without Alyssa because of her concussion,” Miller concluded.