Things can change from day to day in the WNBA. It seems like just yesterday the talk around the league was all about Connecticut struggles after the team had dropped five games in a row. Fast forward to today, the Sun are back at the top of the league with a 16-6 record. They have continued their winning ways coming out of the All-Star break by winning their last seven games. Let’s look at what has gone right for the Sun recently.
The value of Shekinna
Fresh off a WNBA 3 point contest trophy, Stricklen has been shooting the ball with more confidence. After struggling earlier in the year, She has shot 15/41 (38%) from three point range over the past seven games. If she can continue to produce, the Sun will be in a great position to grab home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
When Stricklen starts making these three point shots, she adds another dimension to an already dangerous Connecticut offense. Stricklen forces the defense to extend, all the while creating bigger gaps for her teammates Jonquel Jones and Alyssa Thomas to penetrate. Stricklen’s value will further increase in the playoffs because the total number of possessions a team has per game usually decreases and increases the importance of the three point shot.
The Bria Holmes Revelation
It has taken some time for Bria Holmes to come to her own. When Layshia Clarendon went down with a season ending injury, head coach Curt Miller was juggling the bench rotations from game to game and desperately seeking a spark. It has taken some time, but that spark has come along in the name of Bria Holmes.
Holmes finds herself playing the majority of her minutes at the backup guard spot behind Alyssa and Jasmine Thomas. Her success at this role can vary from game to game. The biggest difference we have seen in Holmes’ game in the past seven games is in her mentality. She seems ready and focus when she checks in the game, which has led to her producing. Holmes defends hard, runs the floor and rebounds the ball aggressively. All of which are good signs for Coach Miller and the Sun.
As Connecticut is back to its winning ways, Curt Miller has depended upon is his team’s resiliency. This group is willing to step up and come together as a unit when it hits adversity. You cannot teach effort, and a team’s success in rebounding all depends on will.
The Sun pride themselves on rebounding. Coach Miller preaches that one of the biggest aspects of rebounding comes down to second and third efforts on the glass. The result? Sun are second in the league in rebounds (37.5 rpg) and first in the league in second chance points (12.4 ppg).
You cannot ask for more as a coach.
“Proud of that locker room tonight. That was gritty, is one way hopefully, positively to describe that. You know, they’re not all going to be pretty. They haven’t all been pretty this year. But another gritty win when we looked at times, tired, a little fatigued with two and three coming off that emotional Chicago game,” said Coach Miller after the team’s 15th win of the season against the Phoenix Mercury.
Sun will look to extend its winning streak to eight this week. The team plays the second game of a four-game road trip on Friday as Miller’s troop will visit the Minnesota Lynx.