With the WNBA season right around the corner, the players on the Connecticut Sun team are preparing for Monday night, which is the first of the three pre-season home games.
While the organization is still putting together its final roster, Channel 3 Sports Reporter Caroline Powers met up with some new and returning players during their training camp.
With standout player, Chiney Ogwumike back on the roster, and Lexie Brown who is the ninth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft on the team, the Connecticut Sun are hoping to take this season straight to the championship.
“We're The Sun,” said Ogwumike. “Even though we're orange, you got to see us shine.”
The 2018 season marks Ogwumike’s fifth season with the Connecticut Sun, even though she has only played in three seasons because of injuries.
For Ogwumike, it has been 17 months since the last time she saw playing time, but she said she is excited to finally be off the bench and back in the game.
“It's been a long journey for me,” said Ogwumike.
“We've been going at training camp, and man, I had to find my legs, I had to find my lungs, but I have some great teammates who are patient and are also persistent. So, to be back, and be able to wear this jersey, means the world to me.”
Even though last season saw many injuries, the Sun made it to the playoffs for the first time in five years.
And now that the team is back, and healthy, they said they are using last year’s unexpected success as motivation.
“It's not about how we start, it's about how we finish and I think we started off the year really well last year and we finished strong, but we could have finished better,” said Ogwumike.
“Now we're going to take that next step.”
Connecticut Sun Forward, Alyssa Thomas told Channel 3 that despite setbacks in the last season, she said she feels the injuries are in the past.
“It wasn't easy for us. We had a lot of injuries last year. I had a position change. I had to move due to injuries, but we found something that worked for us and we were able to get on a win streak,” said Thomas.
“But now we're healthy and have our pieces back and hopefully we'll continue to grow.”
Curt Miller is entering his third season as the Connecticut Sun Head Coach. Miller told Channel 3 that this upcoming season comes with high expectations.
“So, first things first, we got to grind every day. Really, really compacted season. Thirty-four games in a short period of time, so we got to be ready. I know their strengths and weaknesses better now. They know my style. They know what is important to us, our pillars that we hang our hat on,” said Miller.
Lexie Brown, the ninth overall pick in the 2018 WNBA draft, is wearing the Connecticut Sun jersey for the first time, but she is no stranger to the team.
“My dad coached for the Orlando Miracle and then the Orlando Miracle became the Connecticut Sun. I was still really young when that happened, but the fact that this is the team I got drafted to,” said Brown.
“It's something we really didn't think about, but a lot of people brought it to our attention late and just the full circle of it all.”
Brown said she is ready to make her mark in history on the team.
“I really want to bring that defensive energy. That's something I need to work on a little more than I expected to, but I'm willing to accept the challenge,” said Brown.
The Connecticut Sun’s regular season begins at home on May 20th at 1 p.m.
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