Delle Donne, Mystics hope to derail surging Sun (Jul 7, 2017)
The surprising Connecticut Sun go for their fourth straight win when they host the Washington Mystics on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.
After losing Chiney Ogwumike for the year to an Achilles tendon injury before the season started, the Sun got off to an almost-expected 1-4 start, including a last-second loss to the Mystics, in what looked like a building campaign.
But since that start, Curt Miller's team is 8-3 and many of the wins have come against the WNBA elite -- including the Minnesota Lynx's only loss of the season to date. And that win came on the road.
The Sun (9-7) are coming off an 89-56 road rout of the lowly San Antonio Stars.
"We didn't know exactly how good we were going to be with this young team after enduring another season-ending injury to Chiney," Miller, also the team's GM, told ESPN.com. "We still have a lot of unanswered questions, but we're really pleased with where we're at but we know the season is a long season. We have a long way to go."
Jasmine Thomas is the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, while rebounding machine Jonquel Jones was the conference's Player of the Month for June.
Thomas, who is fifth in the league in assists at 5.2 per game, scored a career-high 29 points, on 12-for-16 shooting from the floor, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, in a win en route to her second Player of the Week honor in her seven years in the league. She is averaging a league-best 23.3 points and has hit 12 treys while dishing out four assists per game over the last three.
"I'm just making sure to take the open shot when I have it and just trying to stay aggressive, in attack mode and making sure defenses have to guard me," Thomas said. "I'm just trying to do my part."
Back on May 31, the Mystics (10-7) pulled out a two-point win over the Sun in Washington. Elena Delle Donne, the conference's leading All-Star vote-getter in the first returns, converted an old-fashioned three-point play with 44.8 seconds left before Alex Bentley's first missed free throw of the season with 3.8 seconds remaining allowed the Mystics to hold on.
Delle Donne also had a career-high five blocks in the game.
The Mystics have lost two straight games, with the 3-point shot a major culprit in both. They have going just 9-for-40 from behind the arc in those two games.
They were swept on a two-game trip west, the latest loss an 88-80 decision at Phoenix -- thanks largely to 30 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shot by the Mercury's Brittany Griner.
Delle Donne, who forced a trade from Chicago to Washington, is thriving in her new home, saying not long ago, "I love what I feel here (in Washington). There's really no need to talk about Chicago anymore. I'm gone."