21-13, 2nd in Eastern Conference
Only the eventual WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx won more regular games than Connecticut last year before the Sun were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the two-time conference champion Atlanta Dream. And that postseason exit came at a slim margin as only five points separated the Sun and the Dream in both playoff contests.
Holding the 9th pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, being held Monday, April 16 at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, the Sun are wondering how much help they’ll be getting via the draft in their bid to reach the WNBA Finals in 2012.
“I’m not sure whoever we get at the 9th pick will be able to challenge for a spot in our lineup right now,” said Connecticut Head Coach Mike Thibault. “Don’t get me wrong, there are some really good players available in this year’s draft, but looking at our roster, which last year we had one of the youngest teams in the league, right now, bringing in another young player who will need to learn the league and pick up that necessary experience to win, is not ideal.”
That being the case, the Sun are all ears. “Oh, our phone lines are actively open if teams are interested in talking about a deal,” said Thibault. “We want to improve our chances to win now, and are open to discussions that can help us do that.”
Connecticut is focused on winning right now because former No. 1 overall draft pick Tina Charles, recently named to the U.S. Women’s Olympic Team scheduled to compete for a fifth gold medal at the London Games 2012, and Asjha Jones, recently named MVP of the EuroLeague Final Eight, are primed to lead the Sun to glory.
“Well, Tina has proven herself to be one of the best offensive players in the league, that’s not news to anybody,” said Thibault. “But she’s also getting better defensively, which is a big part of being one of the top players in the league.”
“Asjha has been working through some injuries that past few seasons and hasn’t been 100-percent for a while, but is turning the corner on that now,” said Thibault. “She’s coming off a great season overseas and we think can be a big factor for us this year.”
A poor road record, 6-11, and a less than stellar perimeter game were two things that hurt the Sun last season and are the main focus of the team going into this year.
“We went 15-2 at home last year, so this team knows how to win,” said Thibault. “But the thing that jumps out at you is we need to be a better fourth-quarter team on the road. We had five or six games last year on the road where we were leading in the second half, but couldn’t close the deal. Our wing players need to be able to knock down shots and I think with another year under their belts, we can improve that.”
--Jim Reilly, WNBA.com
Recent Draft History
16. Sydney Colson|
28. Adrienne Johnson
1. Tina Charles|
7. Danielle McCray
15. Allison Hightower
27. Johannah Leedham
10. Chante Black|
17. Lyndra Littles
36. Alba Torrenson