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Connecticut Sun Gather For Media Day With New Faces And Higher Expectations

CT Sun held Media Day April 28, 2016

Aliyyah Handford (right) is among the new faces on the Connecticut Sun roster. (St. John's Athletics)

Aliyyah Handford (right) is among the new faces on the Connecticut Sun roster. (St. John’s Athletics)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (April 28, 12016) – The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun held their annual Media Day on April 28 at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

Kelsey Bone and Chiney Ogwumike led the returning players from last year’s roster, along with Alyssa Thomas, Jasmine Thomas and Shekinna Stricklen.

Alex Bentley, Camille Little and Aneika Henry-Morello – still involved with overseas commitments – were not in attendance.

First year coach Curt Miller introduced an outstanding crop of rookies, which included top draft pick Morgan Tuck, Rachel Banham, Jonquel Jones, Jamie Weisner and Aliyyah Handford (Malcolm X. Shabazz HS/St. John’s University/Newark, N.J.).

Handford was selected by the Sun in the third round and with the 27th overall pick in the WNBA Draft.

‘Liyyah’ finished a remarkable career at St. John’s as the all-time leading scorer and only female player to reach 2,000 career points.

Handford vaulted into elite company as she joined Chris Mullin, Malik Sealy and D’Angelo Harrison as the only players in Red Storm history to surpass the 2,000 point total.

She also helped St. John’s win its first Big East Tournament championship since 1988 and was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year.

Handford is looking forward to the challenge of making the Sun’s roster and feels that the biggest adjustment she will make in transitioning to the WNBA will be adjusting to the pace of play.

“In college, the pace was more hectic,” said the 5-foot 9-inch point guard. “The pro game is a much slower pace. There is definitely a system of play that you need to learn and adjust to.”

The competition will be intense for the Newark native as there are eight guards currently listed on the Sun’s roster. However, Handford believes that her defensive prowess could be the x-factor.

“I am an aggressive defender who loves the challenge of guarding the opposition’s most explosive scorer,” said a confident Handford, who also loves to hit the boards and create turnovers.

Best known in the Big East for her aggressive, slashing-style on offense, Handford has been spending time in the preseason workouts on her outside game, particularly from beyond-the-arc.

“Shooting is important at this level,” said the rookie.

Handford has excelled at every step in her career. There is no reason that she can’t adapt her skills and elevate her game to succeed in the WNBA.


The Sun are hopeful that Ogwumike can return to form after sitting out the 2015 season recovering from major knee surgery. The Stanford product was the first overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft. She was named the WNBA Rookie of the Year and led the team in scoring (15.5 ppg).

Other players who will be attempting to return from injuries suffered last year are Bentley (knee) and Thomas (shoulder).

Victoria Macaulay (Curtis HS/Temple/Staten Island, N.Y.) and Jennfier O’Neill (St. Michael’s Academy/Kentucky/New York, N.Y.) have local roots and are looking to make an impression on the Sun’s coaching staff.

Sun rookie Rachel Banham (Minnesota) tied the NCAA record for points in a game when she poured in 60 on Feb. 7, 2016.

Camille Little’s (North Carolina) father once played for the Harlem Globetrotters. By the way, Little has played nine seasons in the WNBA.

Forward Kelsey Bone (Texas A&M) has her eyes set on a future career as a co-host on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Bone would be an excellent fit with soon-to-be co-host Michael Strahan.

Curt Miller is in his first year as a head coach in the WNBA. Miller replaces Anne Donovan who was dismissed after three seasons.

The Sun will open the preseason with games on May 4 at 7 p.m. against the Chicago Sky and May 5 at 7 p.m. against San Antonio. Those games are part of a two-day doubleheader. Atlanta will play the Stars at 5 p.m. on May 4 and the Dream and Sky will tipoff at 5 p.m. on May 5.

Connecticut opens the 2016 regular season in Chicago on May 14. The Sun will play their first home game on May 21 at Mohegan Sun Arena, hosting the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m.

Save the date: Breanna Stewart will make her first appearance as a pro at Mohegan Sun Arena on June 10.

Stewart, who made NCAA basketball history leading the UConn Huskies to four consecutive women’s basketball titles, was the first pick in the WNBA Draft.

A final word

Congratulations go to the five members of the World Cup-winning United States women’s soccer team for the courage to file a wage discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Their reason is simple. U.S Soccer pays the men more than the women for the same work.

The women deserve a big raise!


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