2004 Record
18-16, .529
(1st in East)

Points Scored
2335 (4th overall, 2nd in East)
Points Allowed
2304 (9th overall, 4th in East)
Scoring Differential
+0.9 (5th overall, 1st in East)

Award Winners & Honorees
All-Stars
Nykesha Sales
Taj McWilliams-Franklin
Lindsay Whalen
All-WNBA
Nykesha Sales, Second Team
Most Improved
Wendy Palmer-Daniel

2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 - 4, Lindsay Whalen
Rd. 2 - 16, Jessica Brungo
Rd. 2 - 24, Ugo Oha
Rd. 3 - 29, Candace Futrell

Playoff History
Three out of six years
Last Appearance
2004, Advanced to WNBA Finals

2004 In Review:
What Went Right?

In a word … everything went right for the Sun, who welcomed six new players last season - including five rookies - and still came within a jump shot of a WNBA title.

Whalen
Head Coach Mike Thibault was able to integrate the young talent with an existing core of veterans. It wasn't easy, as evidenced by the 4-7 start, but a six-game winning streak vaulted the Sun into the race. With five wins in the final six games, Connecticut captured the division title in a tiebreaker. After toppling Washington and New York in the Eastern Conference Playoffs, the Sun extended Seattle to a decisive game in their first WNBA Finals appearance. Thibault was runner-up in Coach of the Year balloting, and he and his assistant coaches were awarded contract extensions through 2008.

Last year, shrewd off-season maneuvering enabled the Sun to tab Lindsay Whalen with the fourth pick in the NBA Draft. The rookie finished fifth in the league in assists, and averaged 13.4 ppg and 5.1 apg in the playoffs. She ran the offense and, says Thibault, "made passing contagious. She's our John Stockton."

As a team, the Sun dished a franchise-record 572 assists, including career highs from Nykesha Sales (97) and Katie Douglas (90). Sales, the perennial All-Star, averaged 15.2 ppg to lead the Sun. Taj McWilliams-Franklin (12.1 ppg) and Douglas (10.7) scored in double figures.

What Went Wrong?

In training camp a year ago, Brooke Wyckoff suffered a torn ACL in her right knee, ending her season before it started. Wendy Palmer performed capably, but Wyckoff was missed, especially when Palmer was injured during the Finals. The 6-1 Wyckoff returns in good health, giving the Sun a battle-tested veteran who can step in if Palmer, a free agent, is not re-signed.

Three starters (McWilliams-Franklin, Sales, Douglas), averaged better than 32 minutes per game; Whalen topped 30 minutes per contest. Among the reserves, only Asjha Jones played more than 12 minutes a night, so depth was a concern with so many rookies in tow.

A concern of Thibault's was the Sun's inability to dominate on the home court. Playing to enthusiastic crowds in basketball-crazy Connecticut in the league's coziest venue, the Sun was only 10-7 on its home floor. A few extra wins might have meant home court for the WNBA Finals, a series in which the home team won every game.

Head Coach
Mike Thibault
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Lindsay Whalen
G- Katie Douglas
F- Nykesha Sales
F- Wendy Palmer-Daniel
C- Taj McWilliams-Franklin
Key 2004 Reserves
Asjha Jones
Debbie Black
Key Additions
Key Losses

Looking Ahead To 2005:
Key Questions

Sales
Coming off an Eastern Conference Championship, the Sun enter the 2005 season with fewer questions than most teams.

Will depth remain a concern? Le'Coe Willingham, Candace Futrell, Jessica Brungo and Jen Derevjanik won't enter the 2005 season as rookies this time around. Their seasoning alone should make the Sun a deeper team than it was a year ago.

With the eighth pick in the draft, the Sun could add another role player. With so many pieces in place now, however, it is just as likely that the team could deal the pick for a veteran that could help them take the next step. Would one more veteran be enough to make them a favorite to repeat as conference champ?

The margin between success and failure in the East is slim. Though the Sun advanced to the Finals, they were 18-16 and only two games away from the lottery. Though hardly dominant, the Sun faces heightened expectations in 2005 and they can expect every opponent to bring its 'A' game. Can the Sun handle the additional pressure?