Connecticut Sun go on three-game losing streak during their road trip
The Connecticut Sun started last week with the best record in the league and finished with a three-game losing streak and the second-best record in the league.
So what happened? Let’s take a closer look.
On June 23 the Sun fell back to earth after their 9-1 start with a 93-75 loss to the Chicago Sky.
On June 26 Connecticut fell 74-73 to the Dallas Wings in a close game they never fully had control of. Arike Ogunbowale torched the Sun for 23 points going 10-17 from the floor and 3-4 from behind the arc. It was her third three-pointer that almost sealed the game for Dallas with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter.
On June 29 the Sun looked disjointed at best when they suffered not only the worst losses in franchise history but one of the worst losses in league history, 102-59 to the Washington Mystics. The Sun went into halftime down 56-30 and simply could not get into any sort of offensive rhythm.
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Connecticut has gone 1-3 since Layshia Clarendon injured her ankle in practice. The lone win came against a struggling Atlanta Dream team who despite trailing most of the game pulled within five late in the fourth quarter.
The Sun have struggled without Clarendon, and though Rachel Banham’s minutes have increased the team has yet to fill Clarendon’s role. While Clarendon’s absence has certainly been felt, her absence cannot be the only contributing factor to the Sun’s recent struggles.
The team gave up an average of 89.7 points per game during their losing streak, a stark contrast from the 73.2 points per game they gave up in their first ten games of the season.
Connecticut also struggled on the offensive end, particularly from behind the arc. In the first ten games of the season, the Sun made 36.7 percent of their attempted threes, while they made just 27.9 percent of those shots during their three-game road trip.
The Sun lack a consistent threat behind the arc. While Shekinna Stricklen can dominate from anywhere behind the three-point line she struggled in the beginning of the season and during the most recent road trip. Stricklen was hot heading into the road trip, going 19-32 in the four games prior to the losing streak. However, during the losing streak she was just 1-11.
It’s clear that something has to change for the Sun if they want to continue to be one of the top teams in the league.
Going back to the defensive strategies that helped them succeed earlier in the season will help the Sun going forward, especially on nights where their offense may struggle.
The Sun need to gain a consistent three-point attack, if they do their offense may be able to gain a solid foundation that was lacking during their road trip, particularly against Washington. As was apparent at points earlier in the season, hitting threes helps to open up Connecticut’s offense.
Looking ahead there are three possible scenarios for the rest of the season.
Best-case scenario: everything went wrong at the same time and the tides will turn and the Sun will continue to dominate this season.
Worst-case scenario: everything will stay the same and the Sun will struggle the rest of the season.
Most likely scenario: Something in between the best and worst-case scenarios.
The Sun, who are 6-0 at home this season, look to get back to their winning ways on July 6 when they take on the Minnesota Lynx at 2 p.m. EST.
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