Connecticut Sun off to slow start, sit at bottom of AP poll
NEW YORK (AP) First-year Sun coach Curt Miller said when he was hired that he wanted to change the culture in Connecticut after the team finished last in the Eastern Conference for three straight seasons.
That plan is still a work in progress. The team is off to the worst start in franchise history with seven losses in its first eight games. The Sun have lost six straight games - one short of the club record.
''Winning would cure a lot of feelings in that locker room,'' Miller said. ''The desire to win is high, but we have to do the little things. The wins and losses will take care of themselves. I've been really pleased the last two games with our second unit. They brought us back into games when it was starting to get away from us.''
The Sun are sitting at the bottom of The Associated Press WNBA power poll for the second consecutive week.
Miller said it has been a challenge to fix some of the Sun's problems since the season's already started. The biggest issue he sees that Connecticut needs to correct quickly is letting problems on one end of the court effect play on the other end.
''You're always feeling like you're plugging one leak and then another one springs open with a young team,'' the coach said.
Connecticut has one of the youngest rosters in the league with eight of the players in the WNBA for four years or less, including three rookies.
POWER POLL: Minnesota and Los Angeles still lead the way as the top teams. Chicago rose to fifth, switching places with No. 7 Dallas. A look at this week's WNBA poll:
1. Minnesota (7-0): Two more wins for the Lynx, topping New York on the road and Dallas at home.
2. Los Angeles (7-0): Sparks swept a pair from San Antonio and remain unbeaten.
3. Atlanta (6-2): Saw their five-game winning streak end with a loss at home to Washington.
4. New York (4-3): Followed a disappointing loss to Minnesota with its best game of the season against Indiana. Won first game of three-game road trip in Seattle.
5. Chicago (4-4): Swept two games from Washington.
6. Indiana (4-4): Rough week as Fever dropped two road games and learned they will lose their coach to Vanderbilt when the season ends.
7. Dallas (3-4): Lost lone game last week to Minnesota. Will get Glory Johnson back from her suspension this week.
8. Washington (3-6): Impressive win in Atlanta followed by disappointing effort against Chicago.
9. Seattle (3-5): The tandem of Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd will anchor this team for years to come. Went through more growing pains.
10. Phoenix (2-5): Took two steps forward, one step back. The Mercury are still trying to find themselves.
11. San Antonio (1-5): Swept by Los Angeles, looking for more consistency on offense.
12. Connecticut (1-7): Mired in a six-game losing streak, the Sun play four games in a seven-day stretch.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Maya Moore earned AP player of the week honors after helping the Lynx win both their games. She averaged 19 points, five rebounds and 4.5 assists in the pair of contests. Other players receiving votes were Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne and Nneka Ogwumike.
PLAY OF THE WEEK: It may have happened in UConn's practice once or twice, but Kiah Stokes' block against former Huskies teammate Breanna Stewart on Sunday night was the play of the week. With the Storm rallying, Stewart drove baseline only to see her shot blocked by Stokes .
''Kiah's one of the best, if not the best, weak side shot blockers in the league,'' New York coach Bill Laimbeer said. ''When teams try to drive like that, it's right in her wheelhouse. She came flying over there and cupped it.''
Stewart was impressed.
''We were trying to make the game a little closer and she made a good play,'' Stewart said. ''Usually I am on the same team as her but it was a great basketball play. To be able to see what she has done in the WNBA and even overseas, it can't happen to a better'' person.
GAME OF THE WEEK: Liberty at Sparks, 10 p.m. ET on Tuesday night. These teams met in the first WNBA game 20 years ago. The Liberty will try and hand the Sparks their first loss of the season. They played last month and Los Angeles rallied from an eight-point deficit in the final 1:20 of regulation before winning in overtime.