Silver Stars-Sun Preview
It's very early, but U.S. Olympians Tina Charles and Asjha Jones have made a strong statement that the Connecticut Sun could be a formidable opponent this season.
The San Antonio Silver Stars aren't quite at that point, but they're still off to a nice start.
Connecticut will try to extend its home winning streak to eight Friday night against the Silver Stars, who were the last visiting team to leave Mohegan Sun Arena with a regular-season victory.
After sweeping New York last weekend in a home-and-home set, the Sun (2-0) are off to their best start since 2008. Charles, the 2010 WNBA rookie of the year, is averaging team highs with 22.0 points and 12.0 rebounds, while Jones is scoring 16.0 per game with 8.0 boards.
"They've got two Olympians, and it's tough to beat a team that has been together for a while," Liberty guard Cappie Pondexter said Sunday after Charles and Jones combined for 45 points and 19 rebounds in a 92-77 home-opening victory. "I think they are the favorite to win the East."
The Silver Stars have work to do before they're in that position in the West, yet there is some optimism coming out of San Antonio after the team began its season by defeating Tulsa 88-79 on Saturday.
That was one of four road games among the Silver Stars' first six contests.
"It's a good beginning point - I think we've got a really good Connecticut team on the horizon, who is sitting 2-0 (and) playing at home," coach Dan Hughes said following Tuesday's practice. "We've been challenged to go on the road for the first two weeks of the season, so this is an important part two of that road trip."
San Antonio, which plays its home opener next Wednesday versus Chicago, will go for a second consecutive victory in Connecticut following a 72-59 win Aug. 11. Becky Hammon led the way for the Silver Stars with 18 points and five assists.
That was the final regular-season loss at Mohegan Sun Arena for the Sun, who lost their home playoff game to Atlanta in the East semifinals after tying Seattle for the league's best home record at 15-2. Connecticut plays six of its next seven at home.
Charles, who has played in 70 WNBA games, needs four rebounds Friday to become the fastest in league history to reach 800. She averaged just 11.0 points and 6.5 rebounds in two losses to San Antonio last year, shooting 7 of 30 (23.3 percent).
Sophia Young, who led San Antonio with 20 points Saturday, had 15 in each 2011 victory over Connecticut. The Silver Stars lost all six of their games between two August wins over the Sun, but they're 3-0 in this series since an 81-68 loss at Mohegan Sun Arena on June 6, 2010.