The Sun Pushed the Limits of Winning, Losing and Playing in Pain

The Sun Pushed the Limits of Winning, Losing and Playing in Pain

“Change is rough sometimes,” guard Jasmine Thomas said. “I feel like, for us, it was a matter of just playing it out.”

Bonner, a three-time All-Star who spent the first 10 years of her career with Phoenix, said her debut season with Connecticut “was probably the happiest I’ve been on the court with a group of girls.” She led the Sun in scoring during the regular season with 19.7 points per game, while averaging 7.8 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

Brionna Jones, who, according to Miller, had a “secret” Achilles’ tendon injury for about a month, became a steady force in the paint during her first season with significant playing time. Jasmine Thomas remained reliable in the backcourt. Young players like Natisha Hiedeman, Kaila Charles and Beatrice Mompremier got key minutes during the postseason.

Yet Alyssa Thomas remained the team’s engine.

She averaged 15.5 points, 9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game during the regular season, igniting the break and facilitating for teammates while also finding her own shot. She led the league in steals with two per game as a multipositional defender who Miller says is “the best in the world.”

Teammates fed off her competitiveness in the semifinal series with Las Vegas.

Alyssa Thomas, who was playing with partially torn labrums in both shoulders, dislocated her right shoulder early in Game 2. But she returned the next game and played the rest of the series, finishing with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 3 assists in Game 5. Before that game, she brushed off inquiries about her health, saying, “I’m done with shoulder questions.”

Bonner said: “She’s the leader of this team. She’s the leader of this organization. She is Connecticut Sun basketball.”

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