Category Archives: Connecticut Sun

Ogwumike Sisters Bond To Help Education Of Nigerian Girls

by Categorized: Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun Date:

Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike, the Stanford sisters who became first overall picks in the WNBA draft, are launching a fundraising competition open to middle and high school basketball teams to raise money to support UNICEF programs focusing on girls’ education and empowerment.

The goal is to give one million girls in Nigeria, the heritage of the Ogwumikes, access to quality schooling by providing scholarships for female teachers and establishing safe places for study,

The competition will rewards teams that sign up the most donors. The top prize is a private basketball clinic with the sisters.

Other prizes include autographed jerseys, pictures and the chance to interact with them via Google Hangouts.

To join the Ogwumike’s challenge: www.crowdrise.com/nnekaandchiney

Ogwumike Is WNBA’s Rookie Of The Month

by Categorized: Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun Date:

The play of rookie Chiney Ogwumike, the first overall pick in the 2014 draft, has been a major bright spot during the first seven games of the WNBA season for the Connecticut Sun.
And on Wednesday, she was named the league’s rookie of the month of May.

Ogwumike led all rookies in points (17.2 ppg), rebounds (9.2 rpg), blocked shots (1.8 bpg), and minutes (32.2 mpg).
Overall, she led the league in total offensive rebounds (24) and was in the top ten in points, rebounds, and minutes played, while ranking fourth in blocks.
She registered a double-double with career highs in points (25) and steals (four) with 10 rebounds and three blocks in a 90-87 loss to the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on May 18. She also had a career-best 15 rebounds in a 79-65 loss to the Indiana Fever on May 29.

Ogwumike is currently tied with two others for the league lead in double-doubles (four) and has posted double digits in scoring in each of the Sun’s seven games.

How Does Renee Montgomery Fit In? Be Careful How You Ask

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Renee Montgomery, WNBA Date:

Anne Donovan’s patience clearly wearing thin Sunday after Sunday’s 85-76 win for the Connecticut Sun over Atlanta at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Seldom does any coach – especially one with a WNBA title and Olympic gold medal – enjoy being asked about how and why they use – or don’t use – players. And that certainly was the case when Donovan was asked what’s been up lately with Renee Montgomery, now in her fifth season with the team.

“As I’ve told Renee, if Alex [Bentley] is in there and does well, Renee probably is not going to get an opportunity,” Donovan said. “That’s how it’s been. Whoever goes in there first, when they play well, they keep the opportunity [to play]. Same thing with Chiney [Ogwumike], same thing with (Kelsey) Bone. It’s not just Renee specific.
“Anybody else have any questions on that? You guys [the media] are looking for something … This is the game of basketball. People play based on production.”

Ok Anne, I think we get the point. It’s the coaches prerogative to play who she wants to play. And its the media’s prerogative to ask why.

But here’s another point:

In the three previous games, Montgomery had played just 15 minutes, including none in the team’s first win of the season, May 23 against Seattle. During last week’s road trip in Indiana and Chicago, which resulted in two defeats and featured a 4-for-25 performance from three-point range, Montgomery played seven minutes in Indiana and eight in Chicago. During those eight minutes, Montgomery was 4-for-5 from the field and scored 11 points.

After playing such a big role in the win Sunday – 18 points in 19 minutes – Montgomery was clearly happy. The former UConn All-American, who had made 210 three-pointers in her first four seasons with the Sun, has been admittedly curious about her role and why it has diminished. But she didn’t want to speculate why.
“Are you trying to get me in trouble?” Montgomery asked. “I don’t want to stir up trouble. I just want to let the way I play speak for itself. I’m not going to try to get into the who, what, where, when or why.
“I just want to work hard and give myself the best chance to be ready when my number is called.”
While Montgomery remains one of the Sun’s potentially potent offense players, it’s her defense and size that has apparently caused the coaching staff to stray.
“It’s very rare that an opponent specifically goes at me [challenges her defensively],” Montogomery. “But I was told that I haven’t caught fire, that I haven’t been making shots and haven’t been playing defense. So now it’s about me doing all of the above.”
Montgomery was inherited from the Mike Thibault era, which now features just four remaining players on the current roster – Montgomery, Kelsey Griffin, Allison Hightower and Danielle McCray.
This new roster is based on bigger guards with more defensive strength and reach. And Bentley, the former Penn State star, was specifically acquired by Donovan in the three-team trade that shipped Kara Lawson to Washington in the offseason.
“I’m looking at Renee for more offense,” Donovan said Sunday. “That’s Renee’s strength – her offense.”
Donovan was forced to shuffle her personnel Sunday because Griffin missed the game with a stomach disorder and the team was coming off back-to-back road games in Thursday and Friday.
She gave forward Kelsey Bone the start and then dipped more liberally into her bench, at least as it concerned Montgomery and Kayla Pedersen, who played nearly 15 minutes after getting just 31 in the previous six games
“Keeping Bone and Chiney [Ogwumike[ fresh, that's where both the other posts [Pedersen and Kelley Cain, who played 9:35] got minutes,” Donovan said. “And both did a nice job by the way. Alex [Bentley] has been playing point very well, Renee [Montgomery] has been inching her way up there and then Allie [Hightower] got into foul trouble. So it was not really by design. I think by need and by necessity.”

Where and how Montgomery will fit into Donovan’s future plans remain unclear, which Montgomery seems to understand.
“I understand this is a different situation, but I know what I’ve accomplished in the past,” Montgomery said. “I spent the first four years of my career in the WNBA trying to prove myself. Last year was basically lost to injury.
“But I felt I was going to have to reprove myself this season, which happens sometimes after injuries, especially when you have a different coach. I’m just trying to make sure that I’m proving I belong here … It’s different, I admit. I’m technically considered a veteran now, and now I’m in a situation where I need to constant prove myself over and over again.
“I guess it’s good. I didn’t expect this. But I’m just going to do my best to stay ready, whether I play one minute or 40.”

 

Kelly Faris Trying To Adjust To New Role: Waiting For A Chance

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Throughout her successful career as an Indiana high school star and UConn focal point, Kelly Faris has always understood nothing worthwhile has come easy for her.
She has relied on impeccable fundamentals and work habits to compensate for whatever physical skills were lacking. And somehow she has always been able to make it work for herself and her team.
But in her second season with the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, Faris is facing the first serious roadblock in her career.
On a young, rebuilding team, stocked with many like-talents, she is now the last player on a 12-player depth chart in a rotation that has rarely gone deeper than nine.

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Leuchanka Final Sun Cut, Look At Roster

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, WNBA Date:

  The Connecticut Sun announced today they have waived Yelena Leuchanka to reach the WNBA maximum of 12 players on the roster.

 Leuchanka, a 6-foot-5 center, has played in 61 games in four seasons in the WNBA, most recently with Atlanta in 2012. She arrived in Sun camp on May 8 and did not see action in any preseason games.

The Sun open the 2014 season on Friday against New York at Mohegan Sun. They will carry five posts: Kelley Cain, Kayla Pedersen, Chiney Ogwumike, Kelsey Bone and Kelsey Griffin and seven guards/wings: Renee Montgomery, Allie Hightower, Alex Bentley, Alyssa Thomas, Kelly Faris, Katie Douglas and Danielle McCray.

Head coach Anne Donovan was not at practice Thursday, and has missed most of the week, due to the death of her father. She is expected back in time to run the pregame shootaround on Friday

Kelsey Bone Understands What Natalie Butler Is About To Deal With

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Kelsey Bone, Natalie Butler, UConn women's basketball, WNBA Date:

There may be no player in the WNBA who understands more about what UConn transfer Natalie Butler will be going thru next season than Connecticut Sun forward Kelsey Bone.
Bone, 22, a former big-time UConn recruit from Houston, Texas, transferred after her freshman season at South Carolina to Texas A&M in 2010. And because of NCAA rules she was forced to sit out the following season.
Butler, the freshman of the year in the Big East last season at Georgetown, will transfer to UConn in the fall but will not be able to play during the 2014-15 season. She would join the team as a sophomore the following year.

What Butler will miss could mirror what Bone missed while she sat: The Aggies won the NCAA championship in 2010-11 during Bone’s year in limbo.
“I was there and in practice every day,” Bone said. “But that was the year that changed basketball for me. It was the first time since I was 11 years old that I had not played basketball competitively. When you practicing all year against a player like Danielle Adams [the former A&M All-American now playing for San Antonio] every single day, it was invaluable for me.

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Kalana Greene Cut By The Sun

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Kalana Greene Date:

Kalana Greene’s run with the Connecticut Sun ended Monday when the WNBA team waived the former UConn guard. The move trims the roster to 13 players. The Sun must cut one more prior to Friday’s opener with the New York Liberty.

Greene was the Liberty’s first-round pick (13th overall) in 2010 and played there for one season before being dealt to the Sun on draft day in 2011 for rookie guard Sydney Colson, who the Sun had just taken from Texas A&M.

Greene was one of the few players to appear in all 34 games last season for the Sun. She started in 31 and had career-highs in offensive rebounds (38) and total rebounds (126).

At UConn, she played in 157 games, averaging 9.2 points.

Charles Not Expected To Be With Liberty Sunday

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, New York Liberty, WNBA Date:

A spokesman for the WNBA’s New York Liberty just told me that Tina Charles is not expected to be with the team on Sunday when it opens the preseason against the Connecticut Sun at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Charles, the former rookie of the year and MVP, was dealt by the Sun to the Liberty on April 14 in accordance with her wishes. She has been playing in Russia during the offseason and has just returned to the United States.

It’s expected Charles will be ready to play Thursday when the Sun and Liberty complete the preseason at Madison Square Garden in an 11 a.m. game. The teams then open the regular season at the casino on May 16.

Kelly Faris Knows Things Can Only Get Better

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Kelly Faris Date:

Throughout her high school and college career, Kelly Faris was never compelled to think much about what losing felt like. That’s because the teams she played for hardly ever lost, especially once she arrived at UConn.
During her four seasons with the Huskies, the program played in four Final Fours, won two national championships and lost just 11 games. Not a lot of frowns there.
But last season was quite different for her, as it is for most UConn players transitioning for the first time into professional life. The game is quicker, the competition stiffer, the challenge to win greater.
And Faris’ rookie season with the Connecticut Sun in 2013, and her first pro season overseas in Hungary, proved to be quite different experiences for her.
“It was all right,” Faris said. “It was a good learning experience.”

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Sun To Practice Tuesday At Goodwin College

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun Date:

The Connecticut Sun will hold open practice for fans Tuesday at the Connecticut River Academy at Goodwin College in East Hartford. The practice will begin at 6 p.m. in the Connecticut River Academy gymnasium. There will be an autograph session immediately following.

 The Connecticut River Academy – Goodwin College’s magnet high school – opened its $57 million, 105,000-square-feet building during a ribbon-cutting ceremony January 7th. Located on the college campus beside the historic Connecticut River, the Academy is an early college high school with an environmental science focus that includes river studies; land, water and air quality; plant and animal growth; human ecology; and renewable energy.

 Students in grades 9 through 12 work directly with Goodwin College students and faculty and are able to take credit-bearing college courses starting in grade 11. Internships are available with a wide range of corporations in the area, including advanced technology experiences created especially for Academy students by the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology.