The Connecticut Sun basketball team is two weeks away from opening its 15th WNBA season, and its management is hoping for a better year.
The organization parted ways with long-time General Manager Chris Sienko in the off-season and Head Coach Curt Miller took his spot. On the team’s media day Wednesday, Miller said that the team is looking for a turnaround, and the key to future success will be limiting roster turnover.
“I’ve preached since day one when I got here that I really wanted to dig in with a core group and play consecutive years with a core group and see if we could grow and build something special,” Miller said.
Miller said the organization has a sense of urgency. That could be because the Sun was tenth out of 12 teams in attendance last season only averaging about 6,000 fans per game.
But it hasn’t always been that way. Back in 2010, the Sun was the first WNBA team to turn a profit. It made the playoffs the first six seasons the team was in Connecticut -- including two trips to the WNBA Finals. But the Sun haven’t hit the post-season in five years.
“It’s a model franchise,” Miller said. “The only thing missing in this model franchise is a championship. I’m working tirelessly to try to bring it to a place that clearly deserves it.”
No one has been on this team longer than guard Allison Hightower. But she’s missed the last two seasons due to knee surgeries. She’s encouraged by the team winning 11 of its final 19 games last season.
“Well, I know that they ended on a very high note last year so that’s what we want to continue,” Hightower said. “The ultimate goal is to win.”
Hightower says that she is ready to make her return. Chiney Ogwumike, the team’s star player and former No. 1 overall draft pick, won’t be. She’s out for the season after Achilles surgery. With key players like Morgan Tuck and Rachel Banham also overcoming injuries, Coach Miller is eager to leave the suffering behind.
“It’s almost comical when you really start to write down everything that’s happened with our players in terms of injury,” Miller said. “We deserve a little luck and hopefully that wave of luck is coming.”
Opening night is May 13.