The Connecticut Sun had their biggest win of the season on Thursday night and have made a solid argument they are a playoff team.
Going into the 2017 WNBA season, not much was really expected of the Connecticut Sun. In head coach Curt Miller‘s first season at the helm, the team went 14-20 and did not qualify for the postseason. Considering the Sun had not been to the playoffs since 2012, there was little hope of things suddenly changing.
Yes, there were definitely signs of improvement under Miller last year, but no one thought it might be enough to see the Sun make any kind of real run in the postseason. Combined with the loss of Chiney Ogwumike for the year, no one got their hopes too high. Not when all the talk revolves around powerhouses like the Washington Mystics, Minnesota Lynx and the defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks.
However, it may be time to add the Sun to that conversation.
Because at 7-7, they are right in the thick of the hunt for a playoff spot and if they play like they did against the Seattle Storm on Thursday, who knows what might happen.
With over 8,600 in attendance and ESPN2 broadcasting the game to help celebrate the Sun’s 15th anniversary, Connecticut put on a show for the ages. They held off a late charge by the Storm and came away with a 96-89 victory.
Jasmine Thomas scored a career-high 29 points, which included four 3-pointers, to go along with six assists, four rebounds and two steals. Alyssa Thomas finished with 17 points, nine assists and five rebounds.
— ConnecticutSun (@ConnecticutSun) June 30, 2017
Forward Jonquel Jones, who has been having an outstanding sophomore season, got into foul trouble early and ended up with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Shekinna Stricklen added another 14 points and four rebounds.
Miller thinks that the addition of a 3-point shot is helping Jasmine Thomas to take her game to the next level.
“She’s playing with so much confidence right now. She’s shooting the ball so well from the 3-point line. She’s always been a tremendous athlete and had that mid-range game. But now you have to respect (her) 3-point shooting. She’s got all three phases (to her game). She just has a confidence that she can make plays when we need them.”
For the Storm, former UConn players Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird had solid performances, scoring 22 and 16 respectively. The other member of Seattle’s power trio, Jewell Loyd, scored 21 points and had four rebounds. The loss drops Seattle to 6-8 and fifth place in the Western Conference.
The Sun, who are 7-3 over their last 10 games, have really hit a grove that has them playing some incredibly solid basketball. If they can keep this up and beat the Indiana Fever on Saturday, a team that is tied with the Sun in the standings, it will do nothing but help their playoff hopes.
When the season began, fans had some guarded optimism, but were realistic about their team’s chances in the postseason. Now? As far as I can see, the sky may be the limit for this Sun team and how far they can go.