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Season In Review: Connecticut Sun

As the end of 2020 draws near, WNBA.com is wrapping up this historic season by reviewing each team’s season. Take a look back at notable contributors and season highlights with the 2020 Season In Review. Next up: Connecticut Sun.

Overview:

The Connecticut Sun started off the 2020 season by dropping its first five games in Bradenton after having made it to the WNBA Finals just one year prior. Before the season began, the Sun knew they’d be down Jonquel Jones, their defensive powerhouse who led the league in total rebounds and blocks in 2019, who opted out of the 2020 season.

The teams marquee offseason addition of DeWanna Bonner cannot be overstated in the landscape of the Sun’s season as well. After spending 10 years of her career with the Phoenix Mercury – including two championships (2009; 2014) – the athletic scorer and lengthy defender brought high-caliber play and veteran leadership to this new-look Connecticut team.

The Sun found a way to flip the script in the final 17 games of the season to earn the No. 7 seed in the WNBA Playoffs. Alyssa Thomas in particular made her mark in the postseason despite battling a nagging shoulder injury, leading Connecticut past the Sky in the First Round. An upset victory against the No. 3 Sparks lifted the Sun to the Semifinals. However, Connecticut eventually fell to the Aces in Game 5 of the Semifinals, 66-63, to narrowly miss its second straight trip to the Finals.

From Bria Holmes’ daughter “Baby D” making a splash on the sidelines to the DISRESPE(CT) mantra, the Connecticut Sun surprised – and pleased – many WNBA fans in 2020.

Top Contributors

DeWanna Bonner

Bonner’s first season in Connecticut was a successful one by all accounts. The vet led the Sun with 19.7 PPG while averaging a double-double through the playoffs (15.4 PPG; 10.4 RPG). A potentially bittersweet moment came when she helped her new team clinch a playoffs spot with a 25-point effort (followed up by a 32-point outing) against her former team, the Phoenix Mercury.

DB finished the season on the All-WNBA Second Team for her efforts – and is sure to be key for Connecticut again in the 2021 season.

Alyssa Thomas

Alyssa Thomas anchored the Sun’s defense in 2020 – and it paid off big. She averaged a team-leading 9 RPG and 2 SPG; on the offensive end, she led the team in assists by dishing out 4.8 APG. AT also set new career-highs in a slew of categories. When Bonner was shining, it seemed so did Thomas – it was also on Sept. 7, Bonner’s 25-point showing against Phoenix, that Thomas was one rebound and one assist shy of a 22-point triple-double. She made the All-Defensive First Team to round out the 2020 season.

Brionna Jones & Jasmine Thomas

Brionna Jones (11.2 PPG) and Jasmine Thomas (10.2 PPG) rounded out double-digit scorers throughout the Sun’s regular season. Jones also added in 5.6 RPG while Thomas handed out 4 APG. And just like clockwork, when combined with the other key pieces on this team, both players delivered.

Season Highlights:

Thomas Leads Despite Injury

On Sept. 25, Alyssa Thomas returned despite aggravating her already injured shoulder in Game 2 of the Semifinals against  Las Vegas. She willed Connecticut to a 2-1 series lead after contributing 23 PTS, 12 REB and 4 AST against the No. 2 seed.

DB and Sky Trade 3s for OT

Sept. 9 made for a late night thanks to Bonner and Diggins-Smith trading 3s to tie things up and send the game between the Sun and Mercury to OT. Connecticut eventually fell, but DB’s 32-point game – including late-game heroics to keep the Sun in it – highlighted this big time matchup.

The Journey

The biggest storyline for Connecticut’s season is the journey from start to finish. In a year of unprecedented occurrences, the Sun seemed to consistently turn adversity into accomplishments. It was fun to follow, exciting to watch and even better to reminisce as a whole. The DISRESPE(CT) mantra was backed by exceptional play that not only encouraged respect but demanded it. This Connecticut Sun team proved it belonged in the conversation for elite teams in the league.