THE CONNECTICUT SUN HAVE BEEN BUILDING A CHAMPIONSHIP-CALIBERTEAM. NOW ALYSSA THOMAS HAS RE-SIGNED.
By Matt Hallett
The Connecticut Sun have been building a championship-caliber roster for a few seasons now. Last season, when Chiney Ogwumike was ruled out for the season, it appeared that the Sun would have another year to wait.
However, Jonquel Jones came out of her shell and dominated along with Jasime Thomas, Courtney Williams and Shekkina Stricklen. However, it was the development of Alyssa Thomas which was totally unexpected but became a pleasure to watch.
Thomas went from a good player to an All-Star last season. The 6'2" forward out of Maryland averaged 29.8 minutes, 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 steals per game last season. All of these numbers were career highs.
Also, a career-high was the 50.9 percent field goal percentage Thomas shot the ball at. this is the model of efficiency. Her 56.7 percent free throw percentage is one of the only knocks on her game. Let's be honest, no one is perfect.
The problem for Thomas is she is about to lose her starting spot. When Ogwumike comes back she will slot into the 4, in between Jones and Shekinna Stricklen. As good as Thomas has been, Ogwumike will always get the starting nod.
Thomas will not be able to replace Stricklen at the 3 due to her lack of range from behind the 3-point line. Thomas did not make any of her three attempts from beyond the arc. Compare this to Stricklen who made 72 of her 171 attempts at 42 percent for the season.
This has the bonus effect of strengthening the Connecticut bench. Thomas will join Morgan Tuck, Cayla George, Alex Bentley and Rachel Banham on a bench which has the potential to compete with most starting units.
One thing is for sure, if the team has the chemistry required, they are going to be hard to beat.