Even with the loss of All-Star point guard Jasmine Thomas, the Connecticut Sun are showing us they are contenders.
After Jasmine Thomas went down with her ankle injury, I questioned if the Connecticut Sun could remain at the top of the WNBA. Today against the Seattle Storm, the questions looked to be answered. They went down by 16 late in the third quarter, looking like a team who had lost a star.
There was a rally late in the third and finished the quarter only 11 points down. In the fourth quarter, they held Seattle to just nine points. This is a team with Sue Bird Jewell Loyd and Breanna Stewart. The Sun scored 31 points.
Fortunately, each player on the team knows their role. Jonquel Jones is one of the best rim protectors in the league right now. She has made 17-of-18 free throws in the last two games and has range on her shot
Skekinna Sticklen is showing her veteran presence is vital on this young team. Here defense is making life hard for the opposition. Alyssa Thomas, another first time All-Star is a great inside scoring option. The front court of Jones and Thomas combined for 22 rebounds out of the 40 the Sun collected.
The back court of Courtney Williams and Jasmine Thomas is one of the best on the league. Without Thomas, Alex Bentley is a tremendous replacement. She is starting caliber on other teams.
However, when she picked up her fifth foul against the Storm, the Sun depth was sure to be tested. Well, Rachel Banham was told she had different responsibilities and stepped up in a major way. Yes she only scored two points and two assists. Her 19 minutes are a season high.
More importantly, what the comeback says about the Sun is they never give up. This is a quality which will take teams along way in the Playoffs. They were the first team this season to beat the Minnesota Lynx.
Since then, they have proved that was not a fluke. They are now first in the Eastern Conference and have moved into third in the entire WNBA.
Rebecca Lobo was absolutely right at the start of the season, the Connecticut Sun are a playoff team. Ever her brilliant basketball mind would not have been able to predict how good they have become.
The win against Seattle showed mental determination and a fortitude which will allow them to beat many teams. The Sun has indeed risen in the East.