Category Archives: Connecticut Sun

Tina Charles Says She Just Wanted To Go Home

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

So here’s what it comes down to. Tina Charles, a former rookie of the year and MVP for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun, said Tuesday her decision to ask for a trade was fueled primarily by her urge to play closer to her birthplace, be close to her family and play [for a championship] in Madison Square Garden.

That is not a hard concept to understand. What’s harder is understanding what took her so long to tell the Sun and what caused the breakdown in communication that led to it.

“I don’t want to be a part of a team where names pop off of a page,” Charles said from Russia in a conference call. “I want to be with a team where our entire presence is felt. I know Bill Laimbeer [the Liberty coach] will allow that to happen.”

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The Day After The Explosion Of The Sun

by Categorized: Anne Donovan, Connecticut Sun, Uncategorized Date:

What a most interesting day in the history of the Connecticut Sun. Some thoughts:

* I don’t believe I have ever seen a relationship between a star player and a team end as acrimoniously as what went down the last two weeks with Tina Charles and the Sun. The Sun is very, very angry with the way Charles conducted herself, last year as a player and this year as a restricted free agent. They believe she did not give good effort on many occasions, was not a leader and, perhaps worst of all. misled them about her intention to play for them this season. Remember. this is a team who tried to build around a former rookie of the year and MVP. That is one helluva thing to say, She gets her chance to answer back this afternoon in a teleconference at 2:30. That should be very interesting.

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Chiney Ogwumike Wins Wooden

by Categorized: Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun, Stanford women's basketball, WNBA Date:

Chiney Ogwumike of Stanford, expected to be the first overall selection in Monday’s WNBA Draft by the Connecticut Sun, has won the Wooden Award as college basketball’s female athlete of the year.

She received the award from Wooden’s grandson, Craig Impelman, at the Los Angeles Athletic Club. Her coach, Tara VanDerveer, and her sister, Nneka Ogwumike of the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks, were on hand. Nneka was a two-time finalist for the Wooden Award.

Chiney led the Cardinal to the Final Four, where they lost to UConn the semifinals. She was a two-time Pac-12 player of the year and three-time league defensive player of the year. Ogwumike averaged 26.5 points and 12.1 rebounds this season and ended her career as the league’s career scoring leader with 2,722 points.

Ogwumike carries a 3.6 grade-point average in international relations, a component of the award that was important to Wooden.

Ogwumike received 774 points in nationwide voting. Odyssey Sims of Baylor finished second with 761. Breanna Stewart was third at 732. Kayla McBride of Notre Dame finished fourth at 562 and Alyssa Thomas of Maryland was fifth at 509.

 

Connecticut Sun Draft History

by Categorized: 2014 WNBA Draft, Connecticut Sun, WNBA Date:

Connecticut Sun draft history (player and slot)

2013

Kelly Faris, 11, Anna Prins 23, Andrea Smith, 35

2012

Astan Dabo, 9, Chay Shegog, 21
2011
Sydney Colson, 16, Adrienne Johnson, 28

2010
Tina Charles, 1, Danielle McCray, 7, Allison Hightower, 15, Johannah Leedham, 27

2009
Chante Black, 10, Lyndra Littles, 17, Alba Torrens, 36

2008
Amber Holt, 9, Ketia Swanier, 12 ,Jolene Anderson, 23, Lauren Ervin, 37

2007
Kamesha Hairston, 12, Sandrine Gruda, 13, Cori Chambers, 26, Kiera Hardy, 39

2006
Debbie Merrill, 28, Marita Payne, 42

2005
Katie Feenstra, 8, Erin Phillips, 21, Megan Mahoney, 34

2004
Lindsay Whalen, 4, Jessica Brungo, 16, Candace Futrell, 29

2003
Courtney Coleman, 13, Lindsey Wilson, 34

 

Will The Sun Shine On Chiney Ogwumike? Donovan Says “Not So Fast”

by Categorized: 2014 WNBA Draft, Anne Donovan, Chiney Ogwumike, Connecticut Sun, WNBA Date:

After finishing in last place overall in the WNBA last season, with a roster depleted with injuries, the Connecticut Sun was faced with a conundrum unlike anything it had seen in many years.
The Sun knew they had to change the look of a team whose smile had turned upside down. And change has come frequently during a offseason delayed for months by the negotiation of the league’s new collective bargaining agreement.
But on Monday, the Sun roster will change even more dramatically when it makes the first pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft at the Mohegan Sun Arena. They also hold the 11th pick, acquired from the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for the talented, but disinterested, Sandrine Gruda, the star French center, who had not played in Connecticut for two years.
“[Gruda] was clear she did not want to come to Connecticut,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. “We felt this was our opportunity to get some trade value from her.
And with the first pick, it is expected the Sun will select Stanford’s dynamic, personable All-American Chiney Ogwumike, although Dovonan, perhaps on orders from the league, perhaps to heighten the drama, was decidedly coy about the team’s intentions.
“Odyssey Sims [the Baylor guard] is quite the player,” Donovan said.  Everybody who thinks that it’s a foregone conclusion that Chiney Ogwumike is going to be here with us, well, we’d love to have Chiney Ogwumike and  we’d love to have Odyssey.  It just depends on guard or post, truthfully.”
Truthfully, the Sun need Ogwumike more than Sims. They have no classic power forward to take pressure of Tina Charles, who despite dominating again in rebounding did not have a stellar season following her MVP in 2013.
Ogwumike, the Pac-12 player of the year and a relentless rebounder, seems to snap perfectly into that place.
“She’s very coachable.  She’s shown great improvement every year at Stanford,” Donovan said. “She played internationally for USA.  She’s won gold medals with our national team.  She’s done all the right things to continue to grow her game.  She’s shown a hunger to get better as she does it.”
Although she was raised in Houston, and has a decidedly free-spirited west coach vibe, Ogwumike said she would welcome being selected by Connecticut.
“You know, I don’t like jumping the gun or anything, but you know what, one thing I know about Connecticut is that they’re huge women’s basketball fans,” Ogwumike said at last week’s Final Four in Nashville. “I’m a people person. I think that organization [the Sun] is great. The players on the team are great. The fans; I feel like a place like that, I would thrive. … If it [the draft pick] happens to be in Connecticut, I’ll be a happy girl.”

The idea that Asjha Jones would reclaim her power forward spot, after taking last year off, was dashed when she injured her Achilles in Europe. Her replacement, Mistie Bass, signed as a free agent with Phoenix. And Kelsey Griffin is more of combo forward than classic power post.
“Chiney is  a fantastic player and I think would be a great grab for Connecticut because I think they need that help in the postgame, especially with not having Asjha Jones coming back,” said Carolyn Peck, ESPN’s draft analyst. “She fits the speed, is a post that you need in the WNBA.  She brings great rebounding inside for Connecticut.  I think she would be a great fit.
“Now, for me, you also would have to consider Odyssey Sims because I think that Odyssey is a point guard, the best point guard in the college game, and I think she is so ready.  I think that Coach Donovan would have to consider do you pass up on that.”
But the Sun has already made changes at guard, trading Kara Lawson to Washington in a three-team deal with Atlanta that brought Alex Bentley to the Sun. And they reached back to re-sign Katie Douglas, a lynchpin of two Sun conference champions, who has tortured them for years in Indiana.
“I think, all in all, for what Connecticut needs, I think Chiney would surely suit the Sun,” Peck said.
To help bolster the post, the Sun also offered free-agent deals to Kelley Cain, a 6-6 center who played collegiately at Tennessee, and 6-2 Keisha Hampton, the former DePaul star.
What’s certain is the the Tulsa Shock, who choose second, will take the player the Sun passes on.
“We’re going to do the opposite of what [the Sun] does,” Shock coach Fred Williams said. “Connecticut has the first call on that.  But either player on that end is a good find and good pick.”
San Antonio seems interested in UConn’s Stefanie Dolson with the third pick, leaving Notre Dame’s Kayla McBride, Alyssa Thomas of Maryland and Bria Hartley for the New York Liberty and Fever to choose from at 4 and 5.
“I don’t think we have an Elena Delle Donne or Brittney Griner in this class, who are game changers.  But we have a lot of impact players,” ESPN’s LaChina Robinson said. “You could look across the board, especially at the top five, some of the players we’ve talked about all season; Ogwumike, Sims, McBride and Thomas.  They’re impact players.
“You may not have big stars, but it’s definitely not a letdown at all [from last year] because these are players the fans have become familiar with over time.  I think they will be watching to see how they perform at the next level.  I think there’s tremendous depth in this class.”

Sun Looking For Aspiring Actors, Actresses

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun Date:

The crew filming a commercial for the WNBA’s Connecticut Sun has asked me to tell you that you might be someone they can feature in the piece.

The production company is looking for any fans of the team who might want to be featured in the commercial, which will be filmed on Tuesday.

If you are interested email acrescasting@gmail.com

This could be your moment, ahem, in the Sun.

Sun Sign Hampton, Former DePaul Star

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun Date:

The reconfiguration of the Connecticut Sun roster took yet another step Tuesday with the signing 6-foot-2 forward Keisha Hampton to a training camp contract. Hampton is currently averaging 15.7 points and 5.3 rebounds for Saarlouis, Germany.

Selected by the Seattle Storm in the second round (22nd overall) of the 2012 WNBA Draft, Hampton sat out the season rehabilitating an injury to her right knee that brought a premature end to her senior year at DePaul. She was waived by the Storm on May 19, 2013.

Hampton finished her collegiate career with 1,574 points and was averaging 16.6 points in 12 games as a senior before exploratory surgery on her right knee ended her college career. She averaged 13.8 points and 4.7 rebounds in 114 games with the Blue Demons.

The Sun currently own the first and 11th picks in the 2014 WNBA Draft to be held April 14 at Mohegan Sun Arena.

WNBA Makes If Official: 2014 Draft At Mohegan Sun On April 14

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, Mohegan Sun Arena, WNBA Date:

The WNBA finally got around to making it official. Yes, its 2014 will be held April 14 at Mohegan Sun Arena. ESPN2 will provide coverage and analysis of the first round beginning at 8 p.m. ET and ESPNU will air the second and third rounds beginning at 9 p.m.
The Sun holds the top pick in the draft for the second time in franchise history. Rounding out this year’s top five picks are the Tulsa Shock (second), San Antonio Stars (third), New York Liberty (fourth), and Indiana Fever (fifth).

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Hightower, Greene Sign Extensions With The Sun

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun Date:

The Connecticut Sun announced Wednesday it has signed Allison Hightower to a four-year contract.
.“We are happy to have Ally back with us,” Connecticut Sun Vice President and General Manager Chris Sienko said. “This contract says a lot about how much confidence she has in this franchise and the direction it is going.”
Selected out of LSU by the Sun in the second round (15th overall) of the 2010 WNBA Draft, Hightower had a breakthrough season in 2013, earning All Star recognition while establishing career-highs in nine statistical categories, including scoring average (12.8 ppg.), made threes (24), made field goals (108) and shooting percentage (.424). Hightower had a career-high 23 points against San Antonio last July 14th.
“We know that Allison will continue to be an instrumental part of the Connecticut Sun in the future,” Sun coach Anne Donovan said. “This long-term contract signifies her value to our organization, and I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Connecticut also announced it has signed Kalana Greene to a one-year deal. A 5-10 guard, Greene appeared in 34 games for the Sun for the second straight season in 2013. She had a career-high 126 rebounds last season.

Sun Sign Kelley Cain, Former Lady Vol

by Categorized: Connecticut Sun, WNBA Date:

The Connecticut Sun has signed 6-foot-6 center Kelley Cain to a training camp contract. Cain is playing in South Korea with Winnus, where she is currently averaging 9.9 points and 8.1 rebounds.

Selected by the New York Liberty with the seventh overall pick in the 2012 WNBA Draft, Cain played 20 games for the Liberty, finishing with 30 rebounds and 23 points. The former University of Tennessee center was waived last May.

With the Volunteers, Cain set single-game and single-season records for blocked shots as a redshirt sophomore during the 2009-10 season. She had 12 against 20th ranked LSU on February 22, 2010, and finished with 113 blocks that year. She had 228 blocks in 92 games at Tennessee, where she averaged 8.6 points and 6.2 rebounds. Cain opted to forgo her fifth year of eligibility at Tennessee, ending her collegiate career on April 5, 2011.