2013 Connecticut Sun Season: Anne Donovan looks to make her mark without Ashja Jones

The Connecticut Sun looks to make a third straight playoff appearance and a second straight berth to the Eastern Conference Finals. In addition, under the leadership of new head coach Anne Donovan, the Sun hopes to make its first Finals appearance since 2005 and bring home a championship.

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49 Total Updates since May 23, 2013
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Sun looking toward future after another home loss

The last place Connecticut Sun lost at home to the New York Liberty last night. As playoff dreams fade, the team talks about finishing strong.


Liberty hang tough on the road

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty took a critical win on the road, knocking off Connecticut 74-66. Plenette Pierson led New York with 18 points, with Cappie Pondexter adding 14 and Katie Smith 13. Kelsey Griffin notched a double-double for the Sun, with game highs of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Tina Charles added 18 points and nine rebounds for the short-handed Sun.

For fashion commentary, injuries to more than pride, numerological symmetry, the treadmill dance, and the relaxation of restrictions, join your intrepid and liberated blogger after the jump.


Chicago Sky cruise to win against Connecticut Sun

Reigning MVP Tina Charles was bested by Sylvia Fowles as the first place Chicago Sky cruised to a 77-61 blowout win in Connecticut.


Lavender and Toliver lead LA attack

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Another sterling performance from Tina Charles wasn't enough for the Connecticut Sun to pull out a comeback win, losing 74-72 to the Los Angeles Sparks. Charles had 25 points and 13 rebounds in the loss. Allison Hightower added 12 points, seven as part of a fourth-quarter surge. Kristi Toliver led four Sparks in double figures with 19 points, adding nine rebounds; Nneka Ogwumike had nine boards as well, to go with 15 points.

For pounding, the flashing red light, squeaky indignation, signs, lots of traveling, and ADVENTUR!, join your intrepid and bilocational blogger after the jump.


Toliver's 19 helps Sparks edge Sun

Kristi Toliver scored 19 points, nine of them in the fourth quarter, to help the Los Angeles Sparks beat the Connecticut Sun 74-72 in Connecticut on Tuesday night.


Sun overcome 16-point deficit to beat Fever

Down by 16 in the third quarter, the Connecticut Sun came back to beat the Indiana Fever by six while playing the same five players for the majority of the fourth quarter.


Dream keep home win streak alive against Sun

Atlanta set a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a half against the visiting Connecticut Sun on the way to a 74-65 victory. The win stretches Atlanta's regular-season home game win streak to 13 games.


Sun takes down Silver Stars

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Allison Hightower had 23 points, and Tina Charles notched a 20/10 double-double to help Connecticut stave off San Antonio, 86-84. Kara Lawson had 14 points off the bench in her return to action. Jia Perkins had 23 points to lead a San Antonio team that put six scorers in double figures.

For action, reaction, driving, windshield wipers slapping out the tempo, tight squeezes, and the kindness of acquaintances, join your intrepid and sore blogger after the jump, and don't drop a chair on your leg.


Bass' contributions lift Sun over Silver Stars

Mistie Bass scores 12 points off the bench to help the Connecticut Sun hold off the San Antonio Silver Stars at Mohegan Sun Arena.


Sun fall again in Lawson's return

Despite Kara Lawson returning and 29 points from Tina Charles, Elena Delle Donne and Sky dominate in road win.


Mercury rising, Sun setting?

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The Phoenix Mercury held the Connecticut Sun to 26.9% shooting from the field, though they gave up 43 free throw attempts, in a 89-70 win on the road. DeWanna Bonner and Diana Taurasi each had 19 points to pace Phoenix, with Bonner adding eight rebounds and Taurasi adding five assists. Tina Charles led the Sun with game-highs of 25 points (3-18 from the field, 19-24 from the line) and 13 rebounds.

For clanking, loud noises, clanking, questionable color choices, clanking, the endless march to the foul line, clanking, decent guitar riffs, and clanking, join your intrepid and tedious blogger after the jump.


Charles the lone bright spot in loss to Mercury

Reigning MVP Tina Charles out-muscles rookie sensation Brittney Griner, but Diana Taurasi, DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree lead Mercury to road win in Connecticut.


McCoughtry leads Atlanta over Connecticut

Despite injuries to three key players, Connecticut overcame a 15-point deficit to take a final minute lead on Atlanta, but Angel McCoughtry scored 34 points to lead the Dream to their seventh win.


Tulsa trades Kayla Pedersen to Connecticut

The Tulsa Shock announced the trade of forward Kayla Pedersen to the Connecticut Sun shortly after their 83-74 win today. The Sun have waived Ashley Walker to accommodate the move.


Team effort fuels Storm in Connecticut

Just the Facts, Ma'am: Four Storm players scored in double figures as Seattle notched a much-needed 78-66 win in Connecticut. Tina Thompson led the Storm with 17 points, with Shekinna Stricklen adding 16 off the bench and Camille Little just missing a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds. Allison Hightower's 17 points paced Connecticut, while Tina Charles had 15 points and a team-high six rebounds.

For parachutes, Freudian musical selections, scuffles, screens, picks, rolls, and missing a t-shirt by thiiiiiiiiiiiis much, join your intrepid and radioactive blogger after the jump.


Thompson leads Seattle past Connecticut

Thompson scores 17 points, four Seattle players hit double-figures, and Connecticut was unable to gain any momentum as Storm defeat Sun 78-66.


Tina Thompson to play last game at Connecticut

Off to slow starts in their respective seasons, Connecticut and Seattle both need a win as Tina Thompson continues her final trip around the league.


Connecticut Sun sign Sydney Carter & Iziane Castro Marques

The Connecticut Sun have announced the release of Natasha Lacy and the signings of Iziane Castro Marques and Sydney Carter. There's not much more to say about Castro Marques than what was said late last season when the Washington Mystics signed her, but that does lead to one useless piece of trivia: this marks the second consecutive season that Lacy has been released by a team that signed Castro Marques instead.


Sun face many questions after home loss to Mystics

Former Sun coach Mike Thibault lead Washington to a road win over injury ravaged Sun


Connecticut facing Washington short-handed

Sun roster depleted after injuries to Renee Montgomery, Tan White.


Liberty fall to Sun in season opener

Just the Facts, Ma'am: A strong third quarter and lights-out shooting from Kara Lawson propelled the Connecticut Sun to an 81-69 win in their season opener against the New York Liberty. Lawson had 23 points on 9-15 shooting, including five threes. Tina Charles notched a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. For the visiting Liberty, Cappie Pondexter had 23 points.

For road trips, the falling rain, no-look passes, music theft, unconscious shooting, unconscionable defense, classy Bruins fans, and a slightly lost Katie Smith, join your intrepid and wearied blogger after the jump.


Sun 81, Liberty 69

The Anne Donovan Era started off on the right note as Kara Lawson scored 23 and Tina Charles added 19 points and 13 boards. For the Liberty, Cappie Pondexter led the way with 23 points and four assists and Essence Carson added 14 more points.

In terms of the rookie stats for the Libs, Toni Young got the start but only played 12 minutes, and scored 2 points on 1-5 shooting. Kelsey Bone played 24 minutes off the bench and had a good first game with 10 points and 8 rebounds. For the Sun, Kelly Faris played just shy of 8 minutes and had one rebound and one block.

At first glance what I think may have been in the factor for the Sun winning was that it made 10 of 26 threes on the night, including five threes by Lawson. New York only made 5 of 10, which is a higher percentage, but they took fewer threes. The other notable stat disparity is turnovers where NY had 18 total, and CT had 13 total.


Season preview: How can the Sun improve on 2012?

A statistical preview of the Connecticut Sun based on the season preview framework described in our primer the other day. For those not interested in all these words, the tl;dr version is essentially the first section of 2012 review and the last section titled "key question". For a look at their major offsesaon moves, check out their offseason storystream.


Sun waive Leedham, Williams to bring roster to 11

Always sad to see players cut, but as a Pac-12 fan it's nice to see Ashley Walker find her way back onto a WNBA roster.

For more on the Sun, check out our offseason storystream.


Liberty get revenge on Sun

Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty took over the game in the third quarter and beat the Connecticut Sun 78-67. New York committed 21 turnovers, but shot 51.6% from the field. The Liberty were led by 14 points from Cappie Pondexter, while rookie post Kelsey Bone added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench. Ashley Walker was the only Connecticut player in double figures, with 12 points.

For track work, painful confessions, hats, kicking it old-school, the soul train, defensive posterizations, taking advantage of opportunities, and familiarity, join your intrepid and shorn blogger after the jump.


Sun waives Prins and Smith

From the Sun's Twitter account, the team has waiver Anna Prins and Andrea Smith:

Obviously it's early right now in camp but even I'm a little surprised that some players have been cut already this soon before a preseason game at least.

H/T to Shannon for noting this.


Q&A: Chatilla van Grinsven on signing with the Sun

Last week St. Joseph's Hawks star Chatilla van Grinsven signed with the Connecticut Sun after being named Big 5 Player of the Year. Swish Appeal had the opportunity to follow-up with van Grinsven on a special senior season, the Connecticut Sun, and preparing for the next step in her basketball career.


Anne Donovan on WNBA Draft selection Anna Prins

6-foot-7 Iowa State center Anna Prins didn't have the type of statistics that immediately strike you as a successful draft prospect - she wasn't on my draft board - but new Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan sees a potential role for her in the WNBA, as reported by Elwood K. Shelton of the Bloomfield Enterprise.

Prins' scoring versatility and size both caught Ann Donovan's attention. The Sun coach believes the rookie has the potential to play a complementary role alongside one of the WNBA's top low-post players -- Tina Charles. But Prins has to prove herself in a couple of areas when she reports in early May for training camp to make the cut for the Sun's final roster of 11.

"For sure the physicality and pace of the league are some of the major adjustments players have to make," Donovan said. "And they are two question marks for Anna and how quickly she can work into them."

To Donovan's point, Prins was a career 33.8% 3-point shooter at ISU with her senior year percentage of 28.1% being a career-low. But to the other part of her comments above, that issue of pace and physicality also played out in her stats: at 6-foot-7, a block percentage of just 2.5% and a free throw rate of just 22.85% aren't very good signs for WNBA success.

For more on the Sun, visit our offseason storystream. For more on the draft, visit our 2013 WNBA Draft section.


Round 3, Pick 11: Conn. Sun select Andrea Smith

With the penultimate pick in the draft, the Connecticut Sun selected Andrea Smith of University of South Florida.

We haven't said much about her but she's Andrell Smith's twin and I wrote this about both of them shortly after the Elite Eight: "I'm not grouping these two players together solely because they're twins - they happen to fit a similar profile as draft prospects too. Both players are high-volume, low-efficiency shooters - both have usage rates over 27% and 2-point percentages under 42%."


Round 2, Pick 11: Connecticut selects Anna Prins

Wows: Anna Prins is a big who could stretch the floor a bit as a 28.1% 3-point shooter.

Wonders: She has a slender build so it will be interesting to see how she competes with the more physical players of the WNBA.

Worries: Prins wasn't on our draft lists because she's not a particularly efficient scorer overall and didn't rebound for a player so tall.


Round 1, Pick 11: Connecticut selects Kelly Faris

Wows: Faris went from an extremely low usage player who was on the border of being a strong prospect to an astronomically high efficiency player who knows how to navigate space, knock down threes, and set up teammates. And defensively she was responsible for helping to shut down Notre Dame's perimeter players in the Final Four.

Wonders: The only real question is whether she'll have a bigger immediate impact on defense or offense as she makes the transition to the league. She has all the tools to be a player right away.

Also, how many UConn players does this team really need?

Worries: Does it matter that she's still such a low usage player? No player with a usage rate as low as hers has really made an impact in the league since the change to 11-player rosters so it will be interesting to see how that plays out.


What should the Sun do in the offseason?

The 2012 Connecticut Sun had a 25-9 regular season record and reached the Eastern Conference Finals, led by a young duo in center Tina Charles who was the league MVP, and guard Renee Montgomery who was the league's Sixth Woman of the Year. The Sun also had veteran leadership from Asjha Jones and Kara Lawson who also provided valuable contributions to the team. After the season, the Sun fired head coach Mike Thibault primarily because he was unable to lead the team to the championship, and replaced him with Anne Donovan in early January. What personnel moves will GM Chris Sienko and Coach Donovan make for the team in 2013?


Renee Montgomery Re-Signs with the Sun

The signings continue to roll in. Earlier today, the Connecticut Sun re-signed guard Renee Montgomery to a three year contract. Montgomery was the WNBA's Sixth Woman of the Year in 2012, and was also an All Star in 2011.


Anne Donovan named Connecticut Sun head coach

Today, the Connecticut Sun announced that Anne Donovan, current women's basketball head coach at Seton Hall University, has been named the team's head coach. She replaces Mike Thibault who was also the team's only head coach since the Sun moved to Connecticut from Orlando in 2003.


DiMauro: Anne Donovan to be named Sun coach

As originally tweeted by Mike DiMauro of the New London Day, Hall of Famer Anne Donovan is expected to be named coach of the Connecticut Sun. John Altavilla has followed that up with a report in the Hartford Courant.

We'll have more later, but for now an interesting observation from Kevin Pelton:

What are your thoughts on the hire? Did the Sun make the right choice given their situation?


Links on Mike Thibault as Mystics GM and Coach

So, there's a lot more buzz going around the WNBA at this time of year because the Washington Mystics hired Mike Thibault as their new General Manager and Head Coach. And the reviews are all positive.


Mike Thibault named Mystics head coach/GM

Today, Monumental Sports and Entertainment announced that Mike Thibault has been named General Manager and Head Coach of the Washington Mystics. This comes after a nearly three month search to replace Trudi Lacey, his predecessor.


Mike Thibault In Talks With Washington Mystics

According to a tweet from Hartford Courant writer John Altavilla, former Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault has been in contact with the Washington Mystics in regards to their vacant general manager and/or head coach positions.

Should he be hired to the Mystics' front office, this could inject some hope for some fans.


Mike Thibault fired at Connecticut

The Associated Press reports that Connecticut Sun head coach Mike Thibault and his assistant coaches have been fired.

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