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The Connecticut Sun are the WNBA title contender few saw coming

Led by DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones, the Sun are off to an amazing start this season.

WNBA: Las Vegas Aces at Connecticut Sun Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the WNBA season, there was a lot of talk about the Chicago Sky, the Las Vegas Aces, and the New York Liberty, but very little buzz around the Connecticut Sun. Five games in, and the Sun are off to a better start than any other team in the league.

The Sun are 5-0 and are the only undefeated team left in the W. It’s an incredible feat considering Vegas gave six teams better odds to win the championship this season. This is night-and-day compared to last year, when the team started 0-5, and finished under .500 at 10-12. But with the Sun returning over half of their roster from 2020, what’s really changed? Well, a bit of everything.

Connecticut is dominating the league on both ends of the floor, led by two stars who combine size, shooting, and power. This is how the Sun have gotten off to such a hot start, and why the team could be a true contender for a championship this season.

DeWanna Bonner is shooting better than ever

DeWanna Bonner has been off to a great start. She is sixth in the league in scoring, averaging 19.4 a game, and is also seventh in the league in three-point percentage. In her 12th season in the WNBA, the 33-year-old has unlocked new parts of her game that has helped fuel the Sun’s hot start.

Bonner has never been known as a shooter. The 6’4 forward made just 27 three-pointers last season at a 25.2 percent clip. Even as Bonner hit a career-best 55 three-pointers in 2018 with the Phoenix Mercury, she only made them at a 31.3 percent clip.

This season, she’s already knocked down 14 triples in five games at a 56 percent clip.

Bonner played a big role in the Sun’s upset win over a Las Vegas Aces team predicted by many to win their first championship this season after being runner-ups last year without several key pieces, including star big Liz Cambage. Bonner ended the night with 22 points and connected on a big three that helped to put the game away.

Overall she’s been playing great basketball and stepping up as a veteran leader for the Sun.

Jonquel Jones is back, and she’s a double-double machine

Jones missed last season after she opted out due to concerns over the pandemic. But this season, she is back and playing some of her best basketball, averaging a double-double of 18.4 points and 10.8 rebounds. She is second in the league in rebounds per game.

WNBA: Finals-Washington Mystics at Connecticut Sun David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Jones has always been a great interior scorer, but she’s also been on fire as a shooter this year. The 6’6 big has hit 50 percent of her threes so far, including going 3-for-3 from deep against Indiana.

It’s evident the Sun missed their 6’6 center. Yes, she’s putting up great numbers, but she’s also playing the most minutes she’s played during her five seasons with the team by averaging just under 30 minutes per game.

The Sun are blitzing the league in so many categories

Even with DeWanna Bonner and Jonquel Jones performing at a high level, they are not solely responsible for the Sun’s success. Jasmine Thomas has provided toughness and defense, while Brionna Jones has given the team an extra scoring punch. They should be even better when Briann January returns from an ankle injury.

The team as a whole is performing exceptionally well and is leading the league in multiple stats.

  • The Sun rank No. 1 in the league in offensive rating at 107.4 points per 100 possessions.
  • The Sun rank No. 2 in defensive rating at 91.0
  • The Sun have a net rating of +16.4 that is more than twice as big as the next best team in the league. The Aces are second in net rating at +7.8.
  • The Sun have a 59.3 rebounding percentage that is best in the league, and also lead the league in offensive rebound percentage.

It is early in the season, but you can’t deny that the Sun are on a hot streak that could be hard to stop considering how dominant they’ve been thus far. It will be interesting to see how this team ultimately stacks up to the 2019 team that lost to the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals.