UNCASVILLE, February 5 – A week ago, free agent guard Shekinna Stricklen chose to return to the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun. “ I really love what we are building in Connecticut, and I wanted to continue to be a part of it,” she said.
Another WNBA All-Star has similar feelings. Forward Alyssa Thomas signed a multi-year deal with the Sun, the team announced on Monday.
“I’m excited to continue my career with the Sun and build on what we started last season,” Thomas said. “Our fans and the Mohegan Tribe have been incredibly supportive throughout my time here. My teammates are a special group and (head coach) Curt (Miller) have established a winning culture. We’re going to do everything we can to bring home a championship.”
A four-year WNBA veteran, Thomas earned All-Star honors for the first time last season while establishing herself as one of the premier young forwards in the league.
She averaged a career-high 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game with 27 double-figure scoring games and five double-doubles. She led the Sun with single-season career-highs of 147 assists, 52 steals and 188 made free throws while also setting a new single-season mark with 225 rebounds.
“Alyssa emerged as a WNBA All-Star and one of the most talented facilitating forwards in the entire league,” said Miller, the Sun’s general manager and head coach. “She helped us play an exciting style at the offensive end while providing a toughness that every championship team requires. We look forward to building on the momentum gained during the 2017 season.”
Thomas helped the Sun go 21-13, finish second in the Eastern Conference behind New York and earn a home game in the WNBA playoffs.
Twice named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, Thomas tied a franchise record with seven steals at San Antonio last July 5. She also set new single-game career marks with 26 points at Washington on August 29, 13 rebounds against Dallas on August 12, and nine assists against Seattle on June 29. She had at least five assists in 20 games.
Thomas closed out 2017 with a double-double – 20 points and 10 rebounds – in her first playoff game, an 88-83 playoff loss to the Phoenix Mercury on September 10 at the Mohegan Sun Arena. It was the first playoff appearance for the Sun since 2012.
Originally selected by the New York Liberty with the fourth overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft after a stellar career at Maryland, where she was a three-time ACC Player of the Year, Thomas was dealt to Connecticut that same day in a multiple-player trade.
Thomas has appeared in 122 games with 115 starts, averaging 11.3 points per game. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not released.