Posts Tagged ‘ Connecticut Sun ’

Part 1: Another WNBA installment of “Did you know?”

August 5, 2011 2:37pm
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Part 1 of 2

We did a segment earlier this season where we shared some interesting statistics on the WNBA. We wanted to re-visit this idea and find some new interesting statistics and tidbits for each of the league’s 12 teams. Here’s is Part 1 of “Did you Know?”

Atlanta Dream: The Dream are the league’s 2nd fastest team ahead of San Antonio and Minnesota and behind Phoenix. What is interesting is that generally the faster they play, the worst they do.  In their 5 fastest games, all played with at least 86 possessions, the Dream are 1-4, -9 point differential. In their 5 slowest games all played at less than 79 possessions, the Dream are 4-1 with a +8 point differential.

Chicago Sky: Much has been said about the horrid 4th quarter performance by Chicago as they scored 1 point in the entire quarter to lose at New York by 10 on Thursday. While their 4th quarter efficiency was certainly the worst this season for a single quarter (if not the worst ever, which I think it was) their efficiency for the entire game was only the 2nd worst offensive output of the year.  Seattle’s 74-50 loss to the Sparks, in the 1st week of the season, takes the cake. While Tulsa has come close many times, they never dipped below a 70 efficiency.

Connecticut Sun: I tend to think of the Sun as very balanced and deep. While that might be true, Tina Charles and Renee Montgomery have each come up with big single game performances this season. Charles has recorded a 31 point game, a 23 rebound game which is 5 higher than anyone this season, including 15 and 14 rebound performances, and 5 block game. Meanwhile her teammate on the perimeter Montgomery, has recorded a team high 33 point game which included 6 3-pointers, a 10 assist game, and a 5 steal game.

Los Angeles Sparks: It is assumed that Candace Parker is really, really good. Possibly the best women’s player in the world. The Sparks only played the first 6 games (6.5 as she was injured in their game at New York) with her in the lineup. With her in the lineup LA went over 110 offensive efficiency in 3 of their 1st 6 games and held their opponents under 100 in 3 of their first 6 games. Since then that New York game, without Parker in the lineup LA has gone over 110 only once in 12 games, and held opponents to less than 100 in only 2 of 12 games.

Minnesota Lynx: Taj McWilliams-Franklin was the only Minnesota starter to not make the All-Star team, which might automatically designate her the most underrated player in the league. She leads Minnesota with 15.8 net plus/minus rating and has been crucial to the success of this Lynx team. While she isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, her veteran leadership and understanding of where to be on the floor is exhibited by her 3rd best net plus/minus in the league.

Washington Mystics: The Mystics might be suffering through a difficult season, but at least they know who they are, and attempt to play to their strengths. Relying on their front line of Langhorne and Anosike, with not much bench to speak of, Washington has played at the slowest tempo in the league. They also crash the boards as they have the 3rd most second chance points which in part explains why they have taken the 2nd most shots from the 1-5 feet.

In part 2, we will look at the remaining 6 teams in the WNBA.

WNBA Weekend in Review

July 18, 2011 9:34am
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The 2011 season is moving along quickly as the All-Star game is this Saturday. After tonight’s game between San Antonio and Los Angeles, every team will have played between 13 and 15 games.  Besides probably Tulsa, every team still has a legitimate shot at a playoff spot.

Going streaking:

The Phoenix Mercury head into their re-match against the Minnesota Lynx with their league leading 6-game win streak on the line and first place in the Western Conference.  Last game saw the Mercury storm back in the closing minutes to take a 112-105 victory, in the highest scoring game of the season.

The Tulsa Shock have now lost a league leading 9 games in a row. After leading the Sparks for most of Friday’s game, Tulsa couldn’t generate the necessary scoring chances once the Sparks stopped turning the ball over. The Shock will have a chance to re-group as they don’t play again until Tuesday after the All-Star break, hosting the Atlanta Dream.

There’s no place like home:

After a short 1-2 road trip, and two double-digit losses, the Connecticut Sun returned home to the comfy confines of the Mohegan Sun and defeated the Indiana Fever on Sunday. The Sun are undefeated at home, at a perfect 6-0.

Meanwhile the Seattle Storm finish up three game road trip tomorrow at Chicago before heading home. The Storm now stand at 2-5 on the road with their two wins coming against Tulsa and a Mystics team that was missing Crystal Langhorne. Seattle is coming off two road losses including a 69-62 defeat to Minnesota on Saturday.

The bottom of the Eastern Conference:

Although the Washington Mystics are 6 games behind Eastern Conference leading Indiana, they only trail 4th place Chicago by 3 games and have more than half a season left to play.  The Mystics showed lots of resolve in their overtime win over the Sparks, where they mounted the 2nd biggest comeback in WNBA history. Even in the last of their 5 game road trip, and a season full of injuries, Washington showed they should not be forgotten yet.

Just above Washington is the preseason conference favorite Atlanta Dream. Atlanta has been possibly the biggest disappointment this season, but put together their best effort on Saturday. Even playing without Sancho Lyttle, Atlanta looked like the team many pundits believed we would see before the season.

Part 1: Thoughts and stats through the first two weeks of the WNBA season

June 20, 2011 5:35pm
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PART 1 of 2

We are now over two weeks into the WNBA season, with each team having played at least 4 games. Here is our quick take and a look at some of the underlying stats for each team.

 

Atlanta: The Dream, the consensus preseason pick for Eastern conference champions stand at 1-5, staring up at every team in the East. They have had a tough start to the season with an injured Angel McCoughtry and Sancho Lyttle leaving to Spain.

Did you know: The net plus/minus for the Dream’s point guards (thru June 14th only): Harding (-23.0) Lehning (+22.1)

 

Chicago: The Sky can already see a brighter future on the horizon with Coach Pokey Chatman now in charge and a positive 3-2 start. Top draft pick PG Courtney Vandersloot has already played her way into the starting lineup where I expect she’ll remain for the duration of season.

Did you know: The Chicago Sky have been your most “average” team through their first 5 games. They statistically fall just above or below average in just about every category, including possessions, offensive and defensive efficiency, points for and against, TO% and FTA %.

 

Connecticut: The Sun have come out blazing hot this season, helped in part by a healthy Ajsha Jones and the newly named player of the week Tina Charles. Even without Kara Lawson, the Sun were able to get a big road win at Washington last week, as victories away from the Mohegan Sun have been tough to come by in the past two seasons.

Did you know: The Sun have done the best job in the league at keeping the ball on offense which in turn leads to field goal and free throw attempts. They have only turned the ball over 16.4% of the time.

 

Indiana: The Fever are in the midst of a tough road trip losing at Seattle, and losing at Phoenix in overtime. Indiana also lost Katie Douglas for most of the Phoenix  game as she went down with an injury in the 1st quarter.

Did you know: The Fever lead the league at getting to the line. The shoot free throws on over 28% of their possessions.

 

Los Angeles: The Sparks are healthy and deep this season as Candace Parker and Co. have raced out to an impressive 3-1 start. Their strong start is even more impressive as they have defeated the two Western conference finalists from a season ago in Phoenix and Seattle and given league leading  Minnesota (5 wins) it’s only loss of the season.

Did you know: The Sparks’ scoring has been very balanced. They currently have 4 players averaging double figures and another two with at least 7 pts/game.

 

Minnesota: What a difference a year makes for the Lynx. Getting back key players healthy in Augustus and Wiggins, a veteran addition in Taj McWilliams-Franklin, and the top pick overall in Maya Moore have led the Lynx to a league high 5 wins through their first six games.

Did you know: The Lynx starting five boasts the best net plus/minus in the league as well as the highest individual net plus/minus player in McWilliams-Franklin. (thru June 14th)

 

Kara Lawson not playing tonight for the Connecticut Sun

June 16, 2011 4:26pm
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Kara Lawson will not be in uniform for the Sun tonight. According to the broadcast team she injured an ankle in practice and it was determined she would not be able to go tonight. Hightower has started in her place.

News and notes to get you ready for the Sun and Mystics tonight

June 16, 2011 9:58am
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The Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics meet up for the 2nd time this season, as the Sun travel to the Verizon Center. In their first meeting at the Mohegan Sun, the Sun shot 8 of 16 from the 3-point line, with an effective FG% of 64%. Only the Sparks, in their home win over Phoenix have posted a higher offensive efficiency in a single game this season.

Washington has been hit or miss as they came off a huge win at Atlanta, but followed it up with a loss in their home opener to Chicago. They allowed the Sky to score at better than 1.2 points/possession  helped in part by getting to the free throw line on 30% of their possessions.

Washington looks to rebound from their home opening loss by establishing some defensive identity coach Lacey has talked about. The Mystics will of course lean on their inside game as both Langhorne and Anosike have been difficult for opposing defenses to contain. Some additional intrigue comes into play as the newly signed Kerri Gardin faces her former team tonight.

Connecticut will look to overcome their road woes, a stigma that has plagued the team going 9-26 over the past 2 seasons.

“We need to have a better defensive presence,” forward Asjha Jones said. “We shown some flashes. But our goal is to let our defense win games for us.”

The Connecticut Sun website also conducted a quick chat with Asjha Jones, as they checked in on her development this season.

The game tips off at 4pm EST and can be seen on WNBA.com Live Access.

Alana Beard’s latest injury

June 4, 2011 4:43pm
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According to the Washington Post, Alana Beard suffered a left foot sprain in practice on Friday (unrelated to her ankle injury) and would be a game-time decision. She did not dress. The Mystics would have been a long shot to win against the Sun with Beard, but the task will be nearly impossible without her.

Eastern Conference preseason update

May 28, 2011 7:18am
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Last night, two Eastern Conference teams were involved in preseason action (Connecticut v. San Antonio from Wilkes-Barre, PA and New York Liberty v. Chinese National Team from Albany, NY), with both coming away with wins. The Sun defeated the Silver Stars this time while the Liberty downed China, 79-65. Both teams have completed preseason play, and Connecticut has only one cut to make to get its roster down to the 11-player limit (New York has 16 with the recent acquisition of Quanitra Hollingsworth).

To the point, Part 4 (Connecticut Sun)

May 26, 2011 9:37am
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Having spent the past two seasons out of the playoffs, the Connecticut Sun will look to return in 2011. Part of the reason why the Sun have their sights set on a return to the playoffs is due to the expected maturation of third-year PG Renee Montgomery. Montgomery, who is in her second season with the team, averaged 13.3ppg and 4.1apg as a second-year player, which would give the indication that she is a good young player. However, her decision-making ability has been questioned throughout her professional career (WNBA and overseas) and will likely continue to be questioned after last night’s subpar performance in an embarrassing 80-56 loss at home to the San Antonio Silver Stars. Still, preseason games are to be taken with a grain of salt, so there’s no need for Sun fans to panic just yet.  Unlike most young point guards, Montgomery is a leader with an impressive pedigree.  She’s a very good athlete at the point guard position and is equipped with a scoring mentality as well as a strong will to win.  One should count on Montgomery being the starting PG all season barring injuries.

That said, veteran Kara Lawson, who split time at the point last season with Montgomery, is a viable option at starting PG should Montgomery struggle as the main lead guard this season. Lawson won an Olympic gold medal in 2008 as the back-up PG to Seattle Storm star PG Sue Bird.

The Chinese National Team continues on their WNBA tour

May 24, 2011 11:50am
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China has now completed three games during their 2-week WNBA preseason tour.

In their latest stop, the Chinese national team were defeated by the Chicago Sky 84-45. Chicago fans will be excited by 3rd overall pick Courtney Vandersloot who dished out 7 assists with only 2 turnovers in 21 minutes of action. Rookie Carolyn Swords was a pleasant surprise as she finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds as she fights to make the Sky’s roster.

The Chinese national team also fell to the Washington Mystics in scrimmage last Saturday afternoon. Jasmine Thomas, a rookie out of Duke, impressed coaches with her play. “I thought Jasmine’s intensity on defense was good,” Mystics Coach Trudi Lacey said. “As she gets more game experience, her decision-making will get better.”

On their first stop, the Chinese national team were defeated by the Connecticut Sun. They return to action this Friday, May 27th to take on the New York Liberty. It is worth noting many key players were missing for China including Miao Lijie, Lan Bian, Chen Nan and Sui Fei Fei.

Gruda to Stay in France

May 17, 2011 1:19pm
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From the Swish Appeal, head coach Mike Thibault of the Connecticut Sun expects Center Sandrine Gruda to stay in France for the upcoming season.

Injury Report