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Connecticut Sun Enter Olympic Break With Renewed Optimism

(Photo by Karen King - Double G Media)

(Photo by Karen King – Double G Media)


The Connecticut Sun have much to be optimistic about as they take a month long hiatus for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

After a lousy 2-10 start to the WNBA season, the Sun have turned things around, going 5-4 in the last nine games leading into the Olympic break.

The main reason for such optimism is the spectacular play of 2014 No. 1 draft choice and WNBA Rookie of the Year award winner, Chiney Ogwumike.

After sitting out the entire 2015 season with a knee injury Ogwumike has finally found her form. Most recently, Chiney led the Sun to an 89-78 wire-to-wire road win over the Dallas Stars on July 20. Ogwumike poured in a career-best 26 points, grabbed 15 boards, blocked seven shots and had four steals in a dominating performance.

“She (Chiney) really established her presence early,” said Sun coach Curt Miller to reporters after the game. “And she gave us great energy.”

Ogwumike’s return to her prior form is all good news for the Sun as they are right in the hunt for a playoff spot, just two games behind the Mystics and Storm.

After the Olympics the Sun will have 11 games to make their case for a berth in the playoffs – a realistic goal to say the least.


Former Connecticut Sun coach and Hall of Famer, Anne Donovan, led Team USA to the Olympic gold medal in 2008 held in Beijing, China.

The Sun began their 2016 Rio Olympic Game hiatus on July 23. The Sun, along with the rest of the WNBA will resume the regular season on Aug. 26. The Sun host the Minnesota Lynx (7 p.m.).

Ogwumike’s July stats are truly impressive as she averaged – 17.2 points, 9.6 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2 steals. Her shooting percentage was an eye-popping 62.5%!

The New York Liberty’s bench players set a new WNBA standard when they scored 69 points in the Liberty’s 88-81 (July 21) win over the Washington Mystics.

Chiney’s older sister, Nneka Ogumike (19.4 ppg, 9 boards) is one of the leading MVP candidate’s heading into the Olympic break.

Others that have made a strong bid are: Tina Charles, Maya Moore, Candace Parker and last year’s MVP Elena Delle Donne.

With a monster post-Olympic showing Chiney could be a sleeper!


The 2016 USA Basketball Women’s National Team will host Team Canada this evening (July 29, 5 p.m.) at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Ct.

The women’s team is gearing up to pursue an unprecedented sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal.

The USA is riding a 41-game winning streak in Olympic competition which dates back to 1992.

Coach Geno Auriemma has an experienced squad which returns nine players from the 2012 Olympic team.

Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Breanna Stewart, Diana Tuarasi and Tina Charles all played for Auriemma at UConn and are one of the main reasons Team USA is the overwhelming favorite to win the gold medal.

Team Canada’s roster is loaded with players from the NCAA and WNBA ranks as well.

Lizanne Murphy (Hofstra University), Kia Nurse (UConn) and Tamara Tatham (University of Massachusetts) have local connections.

Team USA will continue their exhibition schedule when they face Australia on July 31 at Madison Square Garden.

They will open Olympic competition on Aug. 7 against Senegal (7 p.m. EDT).

The gold medal game is scheduled for Aug. 20 (TBD).


Auriemma will have the chance to become the first USA women’s coach to win back-to-back gold medals. There have been seven coaches that have brought back the gold for Team USA, with the late Pat Summitt being the first to win gold in 1984 at the LA Games.

Theresa Grentz (Rutgers) led the team to a bronze in Barcelona in 1992.


Sorry to hear of the untimely death of Nate Thurmond a Hall of Fame center and NBA All Star for the Golden State Warriors.

Thurmond was 74.

Thurmond wasn’t known as a flashy offensive player but earned great respect from his peers for his defensive skill.

In 1974, he recorded the first official quadruple-double in NBA history (22 points, 14 boards, 13 assists and 12 blocks) and was one of only four players to pull down more than 40 rebounds in a game.

He was voted one of the best 50 players in NBA history and is still considered as one of the most dominating centers in the game.


Follow Bob on Twitter for all the Sun, WNBA news and more: @WhitneyBob

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Bob Whitney

Bob is a college basketball columnist here at He also covers Yale football and the Connecticut Sun of the WNBA.
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