2003 Record
18-16, .529
(T-2nd in East)

Points Scored
2384 (4th overall, 2nd in East)
Points Allowed
2409 (11th overall, 6th in East)
Scoring Differential
-0.7 (11th overall, 6th in East)

Offensive Efficiency
99.0 (7th overall, 4th in East)
Defensive Efficiency
99.6 (11th overall, 4th in East)
Possessions per 40 min.
70.1 (5th overall, 2nd in East)
What are these stats?

Award Winners & Honorees
All Stars
Nykesha Sales
Shannon Johnson

2003 Draft Recap
Rd. 2 – 13, Courtney Coleman
Rd. 3 – 34, Lindsey Wilson

Playoff History
Two out of five years
Last Appearance
2003, Advanced to Eastern Conference Finals
2003 In Review:
What Went Right?

New Connecticut Sun Head Coach Mike Thibault took the Sun to the Eastern Conference Finals in his first year at the helm, posting the first winning season in the team’s five year history in the process. The Sun finished tied for second in the East in the regular season and upended the Charlotte Sting in the first round of the playoffs to reach the conference finals.

Taj McWilliams Franklin played a full season after missing half of the 2002 campaign due to pregnancy. She wasn’t as prominent a factor in the team’s offense, but she led the team in rebounds per game at 6.7, and also chipped in with 10.4 points per contest.

Douglas
Katie Douglas continued to impress, averaging a career-high 12.0 points per game and hitting 38.2 percent of her three-point field goal attempts.

The Sun was the best team in the league at taking care of the basketball a year ago, setting a WNBA record in the process by turning the ball over on only 18.0 percent of its possessions.

What Went Wrong?

Despite the trip to the playoffs, the Sun, and the Miracle before them, continues to struggle on the defensive end of the floor, although they did improve slightly from 2002 to 2003. It’s not that Connecticut is bad in any specific phase at the defensive end of the floor, but they don’t shine in any defensive aspect either. The team was 11th in the league in defensive efficiency (99.6), 6th in opponent field goal percentage (41.1), 9th in opponent turnover percentage (19.7), 10th in defensive rebounding percentage (67.6), and tied for 10th in blocked shots (111).

Connecticut’s fast-paced style of play masked the fact that the Sun was an average offensive team in 2003. The Sun ranked seventh in the WNBA in offensive efficiency (99.0), 10th in field goal percentage (41.1) and 13th in offensive rebound percentage (29.1).

Wendy Palmer’s production dropped off considerably from her 2002 performance for the Miracle. She averaged 4.7 points per game in 2003, connecting on 39.5 percent of her field goal attempts and 21.7 percent of her three-pointers. The year prior, she averaged 11.3 points on 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 38.3 percent from beyond the arc in 16 games for Orlando.

The Sun became the first team in WNBA history to post a winning record while being outscored on the season.

Head Coach
Mike Thibault
2003 Starting Line-up
GShannon Johnson
GKatie Douglas
CTaj McWilliams-Franklin
FNykesha Sales
FBrooke Wyckoff
Key 2003 Reserves
GDebbie Black
GAdrienne Johnson
FWendy Palmer
Key Additions
GAsjha Jones (trade)
Key Losses
GShannon Johnson

Looking Ahead To 2004:
Key Questions

Black

The Sun apparently realized that standing pat with regards to roster movement was not the way to go, as general manager Chris Sienko traded All-Star point guard Shannon “Pee Wee” Johnson to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for the fourth overall pick in the draft. This of course begs the question, “Who runs the point for the Sun in 2004?” From an experience standpoint, Debbie Black would appear to have the inside track, but the draft may offer additional options.

Connecticut has reduced its turnover percentage in each of the past two seasons. In 2001, the Miracle committed a turnover on 23.6 percent of its possessions. In 2002, that figure fell to 20.3 percent, and in 2003 it was 18.0 percent. Since that 18.0 figure set a WNBA record for lowest turnover percentage, we might expect that figure to rise some this season, especially with the Sun’s point guard situation in flux. Can Connecticut improve the rest of its offense enough to stay ranked in the top half of the league?

Will Connecticut-area women’s basketball fans become Connecticut Sun fans? Connecticut brass may have been salivating at the thought of UConn’s Diana Taurasi in a Sun uniform, but as we get closer to the draft it looks less and less likely that they will be able to pull together enough high draft picks to entice the Mercury to give up the first pick. Which means it is time for plan B, and hopefully that plan will entice the most women’s basketball crazed state in the union to climb aboard the Connecticut bandwagon regardless of what college the Sun players attended.