Your Day in Women’s Basketball, February 3: Alyssa Thomas agrees to four-year extension with the Connecticut Sun

The heart of the Connecticut Sun is here to stay

If there is anything that Alyssa Thomas has taught us, its that you can carry a team on your back without having shoulders. The All-Star forward for the Connecticut Sun has signed a four-year extension to stay with the team.

Thomas will be making a little but under the super-max contract since she just underwent surgery to repair a torn achilles suffered during practice for her overseas team, USK Praha, meaning she will miss the entirety of the 2021 season. Many people thought she could use this time to get surgery on both of her torn labra, however she has decided against the multi-injury rehabilitation stint, citing the fact that she has been dominant while injured anyway.

She has a point. Thomas is an absolute menace inside, both on offense and defense. She is unique in the WNBA as a top-5 rebounder who rarely gets blocks and rather shows off her defensive prowess by leading the league in steals last season. Three of the last four years she has been top-10 in defensive win shares.

Thomas has been extra dominant when it comes to the postseason, increasing her average point total by almost 50%. She has been a key reason why the Sun have had back-to-back deep playoff runs.

When she returns to the court, this contract may look like a steal for Connecticut, who get away with paying one of the league’s best players less money than she will be worth. The biggest benefit of an extended offseason for Thomas could be a chance to work on her free throw shooting, despite improving by 20 percentage points from 2019 to 2020 she was still dead last of all players who has at least 50 attempts.

Updated Bracketology

In Russell Steinberg’s updated bracket, Gonzaga was listed as an 8-seed. This is bad news for the rest of the West Coast Conference, as the Bulldogs are 11-0 in conference play and 16-2 overall. Gonzaga is ranked 17th in the NET rankings, which meant yesterday’s game was pivotal for BYU, who is currently in second place in the WCC and 50th in NET.

Gonzaga’s defense was too much for the Cougars, however, allowing just 34 points through three quarters before holding on in the 4th for a 7-point victory. BYU is realistically the only other WCC team that has a chance at a non-automatic bid, and they will get the chance to bolster their resume, that already includes a win over LSU, when they rematch with Gonzaga later this month.

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