Balance is Key to Sun's Early Success

Everyone is contributing, so Connecticut keeps winning.

The Connecticut Sun are the best team in the league so far. And the stats tell us why. No one is averaging more than 14 points a game. But at least 6 players are scoring 10 or more per game. They hold the best record in the league at 7-1 after Saturday's 89-75 win against the defending champion Lynx. They are leading the league in rebounding and assists. They are the second fastest team in the league. They are scoring more points per game than any other team with an average of 92.6. They have the best net rating of any team in the league, by several miles. The Sun's net rating is 19.1. Seattle's net rating is 9.5. The Mercury and the Wings, the only other two teams with positive net ratings: Both sit at around a 3. That gives you an idea of just how impressive this team has been to start the 2018 season. The team is winning because everyone on the team is playing with a team-first mentality.  

Guard Jasmine Thomas leads the team with 14 points per game, while forwards Alyssa Thomas and Chiney Ogwumike are right behind her averaging 13 each. Guard Courtney Williams is getting 12 points per game, while Alex Bentley is getting 11.8 points per game during 20 minutes off the bench, and Jonquel Jones is averaging 10 and sharpshooter Shekinna Stricklen is averaging 7 points while shooting 43% from the three-point line. Connecticut is leading the league in 3-point percentage, is 4th in steals, and 4th in blocks. 

Connecticut is one of the best passing teams in the league so far this season. With Jasmine Thomas averaging 5 assists per game, Alyssa Thomas with 4.5, and Courtney Williams with 3 per game, the Sun are leading the league with an average of 21.1 assists per game. They are also the best rebounding team in the league, with 10.5 offensive rebounds and 29.4 defensive boards per game, they are leading the league in both categories and of course total rebounds. If a team can get a lot of assists and rebounds they will win games, and that is exactly what Connecticut is doing. 

One team stat that doesn't look so great, however, is free throws. Connecticut is the worst free throw shooting team in the league, at a pretty dismal 71.1%. Indiana and Las Vegas, currently the two worst teams in the league, are shooting 76.9% and 74% respectively. Seattle and Phoenix, on the other hand, who are currently two of the best teams in the league, are both shooting about 85%. Bad free throw shooting can really hurt you in close games, so we will have to wait and see if poor percentages at the charity stripe come back to haunt Connecticut later on in the season. 

Overall, Connecticut is off to one of its most promising starts in several seasons. They look like the team to beat thus far, and they look like the team who are really playing together and having fun on the court. Head coach/general manager Curt Miller appears to have put together a group of players that like one another, trust one another, and are all committed to his fast-paced, defensively strong vision of basketball. Everyone is putting in the effort offensively and defensively, and the stats and win column prove how that team-first effort is paying off. 

After last year's impressive breakout, one can't help but wonder just how far this team can go come playoff time. I believe, as I did before the season started, that they are a strong candidate to finally win a WNBA championship. One can only hope they stay healthy and sound on both ends of the floors so we can all see exactly what they can achieve this year.

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