Connecticut Sun look ahead to final stretch of games
Sun look to continue its upward trajectory as the playoffs loom
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PALMETTO, FL - AUGUST 22: Alyssa Thomas #25 of the Connecticut Sun drives to the basket against the New York Liberty on August 22, 2020 at Feld Entertainment Center in Palmetto, Florida. Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via GettyImages)
Alyssa Thomas came into post game media availability with a chair in hand, taking a well deserved seat after an efficient performance in the Connecticut Sun’s 82-65 win over the New York Liberty.
Thomas scored 25 points off 10-14 shooting and added five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Head coach Curt Miller said that Thomas could have had 30 or 35 points if she had had to play in the fourth quarter.
She started the game with a mission, set the tone for the rest of the game, something she achieved scoring 10 points on 5-6 shooting in the first quarter.
“I mean, my teammates just keep giving me the ball when I get in the zone like that, running plays for me to get those same touches until they do something different,” Thomas said.
She added, “So, I knew this was the last game of our long stretch and I just wanted to come out set the tone today.”
With the win over New York, Connecticut wrapped up 10 games in a 19-day stretch, going 6-4 and improving their record to 6-8.
While the team got off to a slow start, Jasmine Thomas noted that the last 10 games has significantly impacted the team’s development.
“It's really big to be 6-4 in that stretch. We found a bit of a rhythm, found some things that worked for us locked in defensively in a few games as well,” she said.
Thomas added, “So the pieces are coming together. You have Briann [January] also playing really well. Finally comfortable and that's a big piece of what we're trying to do as well. So I think we made some progress in a very tough stretch so that's important.”
The Sun have been unable to have a full practice since the start of the season, but with a three day stretch between the Liberty game and their game against the Phoenix Mercury on Wednesday the team plans to take two days off and practice on Tuesday.
“We'll go back and watch film from some of the recent games and be able to correlate from the film room now finally, onto the practice floor,” Miller said.
His goal for the team is simple, “Just scratch and claw. We know people are going to get hot behind us, and we can't worry about other people, we've got to take care of ourselves.”
However, the players are focused on the two days of rest they get, a luxury after playing every other day for nearly three weeks.
“Just doing a little bit of that [relaxing], doing a lot of recovery. Because once we have these days off, and then we have a day of practice, we come back with Phoenix it's gonna be a tough game. And then we start up again with every other day with the schedule. So, take a little time to relax, recover, breathe a little bit, and then we're back on the grind,” Briann January said.
Miller believes the team is ahead defensively with multiple All-Defensive players on the team, but believes that Alyssa Thomas is the key.
“When we can get Alyssa Thomas, helping us disrupt and be the leader of our defense,” he said.
“We have a lot of really quality WNBA defenders. Jasmine Thomas is an all-defensive player, Bri January's an all-defensive player. DeWanna Bonner is an all-defensive player and has a chance to potentially lead the league in steals. So we have a chance to be really disruptive, but the head of that monster is Alyssa Thomas for us,” he continued.
With eight games left in the season, the Sun are focused on making the playoffs.
Alyssa Thomas knows that remaining consistent will help the Sun saying, “Right now. It's pretty tight with the playoffs. All of us are pretty evenly matched right now. So, for us, it's just about starting to separate ourselves and taking it one game at a time.”
The Sun return to the court to take on the Mercury on Aug. 26 at 10 p.m. ET.