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A Little Bit Of Everything: Alyssa Thomas Leads Way For Sun

To say Alyssa Thomas fills up the box score every night would be an understatement.

Thomas, who opened the season with an impressive showing of 13 points, 17 rebounds, six assists, two steals, two blocks and zero turnovers against Las Vegas, has been in a right mindset to open the year — being named WNBA Player of the Week after an impressive first three games.

“I’ve just been going out there and playing my game,” Thomas said. “Right now I think we’re just playing free — we were all excited for the season to start and just feeding of that energy.”

Her Connecticut Sun, who have started the season 3-0, have been undoubtedly led by Thomas’ ability to do in her words “a little bit of everything.”

“Since (coach) Curt [Miller] has gotten here, I’ve been allowed to really play my game,” Thomas said. “With injuries last year I had to move to the 4 position, which ended up being beneficial for me. I have been able to play my game, which I’ve played all my life – doing a little bit of everything. I’ve just waited my turn and played hard within the system and and it’s finally paying off for me.”

Last season, the system paid off for Thomas who had a career year of averaging 14.8 points per game, 6.8 rebounds per game, 4.5 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game in the 33 games she started last season. She was named an All-Star for the first time and led the WNBA in plus/minus with a +15.8 rating.

With her play, Thomas stands out by helping the team in any way she can.

“I’ve always been that kind of person that just doesn’t want to be a one-dimensional player,” Thomas said.  “I just try to bring that to the team. If I can’t score for them, then I want to be able to bring something to the table. So that’s what you see.”

Another unique aspect of Thomas’ career is she has gone from being a left-handed shooter to a right-handed one this season.

“I am a right-handed person. I do most things right-handed,” said Thomas. “I have grown up shooting left-handed, but having a shoulder injury has prevented me from shooting the way I want to shoot. I made the decision overseas to switch to my right hand, and it’s been an easy transition for me.”

Easy indeed, as the forward has shot over 60% from the field in her first few games so far.

Speaking of offseason work, Thomas has been spending three of her last four WNBA offseasons in South Korea, playing for Bucheon KEB Hana Bank in 2014-15 and with Yongin Samsung Blueminx for the last two offseasons. It’s those experiences that Thomas has attributed to the improvement in her game year after year.

“For me, Korea is like a second home to me,” Thomas said. “I try to go over there and work on new things and develop my game. I had a really good season over there, but we didn’t finish the way we wanted to finish. But I feel that every year I’ve come back, I’ve gotten better.”

The Sun have noticed the improvement in Thomas’ game, so much so that they signed her to a multi-year deal over the offseason to keep her in Connecticut.

“Super easy [decision],” recalled Thomas. “This is a great organization, though when I first got here, we did struggle. We are on the rise now, this team is like a family to me and we started something last year that was really special. It would be dumb of me to leave that and hopefully we’ll just continue to grow and continue what we started last season.”

In prepping for a gameday, Thomas keeps it simple: wake up, go through shootaround, cold tub, breakfast, go home, take a nap, shower, leave for the game, listen to music, get a massage, then go to the court to warm up.

But Thomas spends her off days like the average person – hanging out and watching something.

Thomas shared: “Most days I just like to watch TV – Hulu, Netflix or go to the movies. There’s too many shows [I watch] to count. Right now I’m about to start “Shooter,” so that’s my next binge watch.”

But she is keeping her focus on the court and an upcoming road trip of four games against the Chicago Sky, Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream and New York Liberty – as the Sun attempt to build on their hot start.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough road trip for us,” Thomas said. “Playing a lot of games in a short amount of time. We have to come in with the same approach to every game and understand that people are going to come at us really hard and we got to keep doing what’s been working for us and playing hard and not let down.”