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Sun may be 9-0 but they want to play better basketball

Connecticut’s DeWanna Bonner has led the Sun in scoring in seven of nine games so far this season. (Jonnell Pannell photo courtesy Connecticut Sun)

It may be one of the quietest 9-0 starts in WNBA history. Few outside of the Nutmeg State seem to be discussing the outstanding start by the Connecticut Sun, who have won their first nine games of the season.

Behind DeWanna Bonner with 20 points, eight rebounds and three assists, the Sun (9-0) remained the only unbeaten team in the WNBA after a 76-59 win over the winless Washington Mystics (0-9) on Tuesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Brionna Jones recorded 15 points, three rebounds and one steal on the night, while Ty Harris added 14 points, one rebound, a season-high six assists, two steals and one block on the night. Alyssa Thomas tallied seven points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Sun.

Minnesota (2017), Los Angeles (2003, 2001) each won their first nine games. The league record is 13 games set by Minnesota in 2016.

Bonner: 9-0 is nice but ….

“Listen, we’re 9 -0. We’re winning. But we are not playing great basketball right now,” Bonner said after win over Washington. “Let’s be honest, we’re really not. So, we’ve got a lot of room to improve. I think a lot of people are looking at our record and looking at how we’re winning. We have a chemistry that’s kind of been around, you know, a long time

“Other teams are gonna start finding their chemistry. They’re gonna get better. So, we’re gonna get better. We have to get better. Yes, we have a 9-0 record, but we have a very long way to go. We have the worst three-point percentage in the league right now, probably the worst free-throw percentage in the league. We lead the league in turnovers.

“If we want to be a top team, we know we have to get better. We know we have a long way to go. We’re not celebrating these wins at all.”

Defensive intensity: Against Washington, the Sun scored 32 points in the first half. They had 44 in the second half.

“We challenged each other,” Bonner said. “It wasn’t even the offense. It was the defense. We know what our bread and butter is. That is to run

“I think we kind of challenged each other on defense. So, we got a couple rebounds and got on (some) fast breaks. And once that happened, I think we’re a dangerous team right now.

White: No championships won in June: “This is a group that has been to championships. They’ve been playing for WNBA championships,” Sun coach Stephanie White said. “They understand, you know, what it takes. And yes, it’s great that we’re 9-0. But it just turned June. And this doesn’t really mean anything when it comes to September and October. Certainly, we want to position ourselves for success when it comes to seeding.

“But at the same time, we understand it’s a long season. We understand that it’s a season where there are a lot of ups and downs. There’s a lot of ebbs and flows and we’ve got to be able to manage that, not just through the course of the game but through the course of the season.

“And we certainly want to be playing our best basketball, but we also know it’s going to get tougher with a lot more games in a short period of time.”

New York Challenge: The Sun host the Liberty on Saturday at 1 p.m. in Uncasville. But this is a different Sun team that the one that the Liberty handled a year ago. Last September, the Liberty beat the Sun in the WNBA semifinals before advancing to the WNBA finals where New York lost to Las Vegas.

“I just think this team has a different mentality,”  White said regarding the Sun. “I think that the experience that that Ty (Harris) now has now, she’s different. The experience that DiJonai (Carrington) has now is accepting in a starting role, she’s different. DB (Bonner) had a full off season to rest, recover and come back hungrier, you know, Breezy’s (Brionna Jones) on the floor. It’s different.

“We have experience with Rachel (Banham) and Tiff (Tiffany Mitchell). I don’t know what everybody else thinks, but I think Liv (Olivia Nelson-Ododa) looks stronger than she was a year ago, so we can give a little bit more resistance on the interior.

“At the end of the day, you look at New York’s roster and the amount of Olympians, potential Olympians, all league players that they have,” White said. “But at the same time, look at our roster and the way that we’re playing right now

“I think that for us, it’s approaching it as step number 10, right? Yes, it’s New York. But again, it’s June. And again, how do we position ourselves for success? How do we continue to gain confidence? How do we make them uncomfortable? And how do we see where we need to be to beat them in a series when it comes to the postseason?

“It’s just the next step in our journey, and it comes against an outstanding team. So, I think we’re excited about the opportunity that we have in front of us on Saturday.”

Burton signed: The Sun signed guard Veronica Burton to a rest-of-the-season contract. Burton, who was drafted No. 7 in the 2022 WNBA draft, played two years with Dallas (2022, 2023).

The 5-9 guard appeared in 76 contests for the Wings, starting in 19, where she averaged 2.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Burton, a Newton, Massachusetts native, was a stand-out of Northwestern University where she was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for three consecutive seasons (2020, 2021, 2022).

The Sun also waived forward Queen Egbo. She was acquired by the Sun on May 7, 2024 in a trade with Washington. She appeared in three contests for Connecticut, logging two points and two rebounds in seven minutes of action.

Additional nuggets

  • Washington grabbed 13 offensive rebounds (tied for the most the Sun have given up this season) on the night and outscored Connecticut 10-3 in second chance opportunities.
  • The Sun won the battle in the paint (28-26) and on the fast break (9-2).
  • Connecticut struggled again from the free-throw line, shooting 59.3% (16-27). This marks the third straight game the Sun have shot under 60% from the charity stripe.
  • Bonner has led the Sun in scoring in seven of nine games this season.


Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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