Connecticut Sun 2022 Season in Review
Uncasville, CT - On Sunday, September 18, the Connecticut Sun concluded their 2022 season, falling just two games shy of a WNBA Championship. The Sun finished the 2022 regular season with a record of 25-11, third best in the WNBA, and found themselves in their second WNBA Finals series in the past four years. The 2022 season was one of adversity for Connecticut, having to overcome season-ending injuries to key players and having to navigate key matchups when players and coaches found themselves in health and safety protocols. However, the Sun's 20th Anniversary season will also be remembered for great successes: an epic comeback from a devastating injury, WNBA All-Star and end of season honors, an array of milestone accomplishments and franchise firsts, and a postseason run for the history books.
Alyssa Thomas returned to the Connecticut Sun for her eighth season after missing all but six games of the 2021 campaign recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. The veteran forward entered her first full season back with a vengeance, starting in all 36 of the Sun's regular season games, leading her team in assists (6.1), steals (1.7) and minutes played (32.1). She also averaged 13.4 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Thomas was named a 2022 WNBA All-Star (her third recognition - 2017, 2019), the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice (5/23, 7/25) and the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month twice (May, July) this season.
The accolades didn't stop there. Thomas picked up a slew of postseason honors, including AP Comeback Player of the Year, All-WNBA Second Team and WNBA All-Defensive Second Team. Most notably this regular season, Thomas notched her first career triple-double and the first triple-double in Sun history in the team's July 22 win over Minnesota, tallying 15 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists. Just 11 days later, she had another triple-double with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in Connecticut's August 2 win over Phoenix, making her one of three players (Candace Parker, Sabrina Ionescu) in the league's history to record multiple triple-doubles in their career and in the same season.
The Sun's 2022 season saw many exciting shifts in the franchise's history books, as well as notable individual and team accomplishments. Seasoned veteran and Sun guard, DeWanna Bonner eclipsed 6,000 points, 2,500 rebounds, 900 assists and 500 steals during the 2022 regular season. She is only one of two players in league history to accomplish that feat (Tamika Catchings). Bonner also climbed five spots on the WNBA scoring list, passing Angel McCoughtry, Becky Hammon, Seimone Augustus and Lauren Jackson this year for 12th all-time (6,184). Courtney Williams, Alyssa Thomas and Jonquel Jones all reached the 2,500 point-mark this season, with Thomas and J. Jones each also grabbing their 1,500th rebound. Brionna Jones notched her 1,000th career-point and 600th career-rebound in her 2022 campaign for the Sun.
J. Jones became the Sun's all-time leading shot blocker, passing Taj McWilliams-Franklin in their win over Los Angeles on August 11. She now sits atop of the list with 270 career-blocks in just six seasons with the team. J. Jones also moved into sixth in scoring (2,657) and third in rebounding (1,633) in franchise history. Thomas moved into fifth all-time in scoring (2,847), second all-time in rebounding (1,665), third all-time in assists (830) and third all-time in steals (359) in Connecticut Sun history. Head Coach and General Manager, Curt Miller, joined the fun, moving up five places in wins in WNBA history into 11th all-time (140). Miller also sports the fifth-best win percentage in league history, 61.9% (minimum of 50 games coached).
The Connecticut Sun also made strides as a team this season. In their May 17 win over the New York Liberty, the Sun set a new franchise record for forced turnovers. Connecticut turned New York over 32 times, scoring 44 points off those giveaways. The team also set a new franchise record for turnovers forced in a single half of play with 19 New York Liberty turnovers in the first half. In the Sun's 105-92 victory over the Atlanta Dream on June 15, the team dished out 30 assists, tying a franchise record for most assists in a single contest. The last time Connecticut assisted on 30 field goals was in a 91-61 victory over Chicago on June 19, 2009.
Accolades on Accolades
Brionna Jones played in all 36 games for Connecticut in the regular season, averaging 13.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals in 25.1 minutes per game. She ranked 20th in the WNBA in scoring, fourth in field goal percentage (56.9), and second in offensive rebounds (2.6) per game. Due to her efforts, the 6-3 forward from Havre de Grace, MD was named a WNBA All-Star for her second consecutive season, making her the only player off the bench to be voted an All-Star this season. In addition, B. Jones was named the 2022 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year, her second All-WNBA accolade in as many years after winning the 2021 WNBA Most Improved Award the previous season.
Jonquel Jones entered the 2022 season coming off the best campaign of her WNBA career, where she was named the 2021 AP and WNBA Most Valuable Player. This season, the 6-6 Bahamian native continued to make strides; averaging 14.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks per game, while leading the Sun in points, rebounds and blocked shots. Jones was named a WNBA All-Star for the fourth time in her career (2017, 2019, 2021, 2022), and was voted a starter for the third consecutive time. J. Jones' performance this season landed her on the All-WNBA Second Team for the third time (2017, 2019) and the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team, her third WNBA Defensive Team recognition (First Team 2019, 2021).
On July 28, the Connecticut Sun defeated the Seattle Storm to secure their spot in the WNBA Playoffs for the sixth straight season. The third-seeded Sun opened the 2022 postseason with a best-of-three series against the Dallas Wings, ousting them 2-1 in the deciding game in Arlington, TX on August 24. In their fourth straight WNBA Semifinals, Connecticut met second-seeded Chicago for the second-straight postseason. After falling to the Sky in all four regular season matchups in 2022, the Sun were able to pick up their first win on August 28 in Game 1 of the series, 68-63. The Sky bested the Sun in the next two contests, but the Sun were ultimately able to force a Game 5 back in Chicago. After trailing by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter, Connecticut finished Game 5 on a record-setting 18-0 run to seal a 72-63 victory and their spot in the 2022 WNBA Finals series against the Las Vegas Aces.
The Sun's trip to the Finals marks their fourth in franchise history and second in the last four seasons ('04, '05, '19). In the best-of-five series, Connecticut fell in the opening two games in Las Vegas, 67-64 and 85-71 respectively. With their season on the line in Game 3 in Uncasville, Connecticut picked up an electrifying 105-76 victory. The Sun came out with energy, scoring a WNBA Finals record 34 first-quarter points. Alyssa Thomas notched a WNBA Finals first-ever triple-double with 16 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, three steals and one block. Connecticut dominated the paint in the win, outscoring Las Vegas, 64-26, setting a new WNBA Finals record for points in the paint. The Sun's 105 points, 43 field goals and 32 assists all marked new franchise records in a postseason contest. Connecticut gave it all they had in Game 4, but ultimately dropped the Finals series 3-1, after a 78-71 defeat. Thomas notched her second-straight postseason triple-double (11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists) making her the first player to get two-triple doubles in the same Finals series, the first player to notch two triple-doubles in back to back games (regular season or playoffs), and the first player to amass four triple-doubles in a single season in WNBA history.
With six 2022 playoff victories, the Connecticut Sun moved into fourth all-time in postseason wins in league history (37) and Curt Miller finished at 11th all-time in wins in WNBA playoff history, moving up five spots this postseason (16). Alyssa Thomas moved into first all-time in postseason scoring (486), rebounding (282), assists (175) and steals (57) in Connecticut Sun franchise history. DeWanna Bonner finished in sixth all-time in scoring (952), fourth all-time in rebounding, fourth all-time in steals (85) and third all-time in games played (73) in WNBA playoff history.
20th Anniversary Season
The Connecticut Sun celebrated its 20th Anniversary as a franchise this season. After operating as the Orlando Miracle for four seasons (1999-2002), the franchise relocated to Connecticut for the 2003 season. The Sun hosted a 20th Anniversary celebration during their home opener on May 14, where WNBA legend Asjha Jones was honored for her contributions to the Sun franchise. Jones' No. 15 joined Margo Dydek (12), Nykesha Sales (42), Katie Douglas (23) and Lindsay Whalen (13) in the rafters during a special ceremony. Throughout the season, Sun fans participated in various 20th Anniversary specials including 2003 ticket pricing offers, Ultimate Fan Package Sweepstakes and discounted food and beverage deals. The Sun also spotlighted its invaluable and most dedicated 20-year season ticket members on the court pregame throughout the season's home contests.
The competition for the Connecticut Sun continues in the off-season. Follow your favorite players as they compete in various leagues abroad and stateside.
Alyssa Thomas - USK Praha (Czech Republic)
Brionna Jones - USK Praha (Czech Republic)
Jonquel Jones - Cukurova (Turkey)
DeWanna Bonner - Cukurova (Turkey)
DiJonai Carrington - Athletes Unlimited
Courtney Williams - Athletes Unlimited
Odyssey Sims - Athletes Unlimited
Joyner Holmes - Dinamo Sassari (Italy)
Nia Clouden - Lublin (Poland)
Natisha Hiedeman - TBD
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