Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Absurd travel complications couldn’t stop the Sun from advancing to WNBA Semifinals

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LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MAY 31: DeWanna Bonner #24 of the Connecticut Sun questions an official as teammate Alyssa Thomas #25 steps in during a game against the Las Vegas Aces at Michelob ULTRA Arena on May 31, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Aces defeated the Sun 89-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – MAY 31: DeWanna Bonner #24 of the Connecticut Sun questions an official as teammate Alyssa Thomas #25 steps in during a game against the Las Vegas Aces at Michelob ULTRA Arena on May 31, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Aces defeated the Sun 89-81. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

The Connecticut Sun battled more than just the Dallas Wings in their quest to advance to the WNBA Semifinals: they fought extensive flight complications.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem all that surprising that the Connecticut Sun triumphed over the Dallas Wings in Game 3 to advance to the WNBA Semifinals.

Even though Dallas won 89-79 in Game 2, the Sun shone in Game 1 with a 93-68 victory. Everyone was on the line in Game 3, and Connecticut came out with a 73-58 win on limited sleep, endless stress and zero practice.

Hartford Courant reporter Lila Bromberg shared a statement from Sun head coach Curt Miller detailing everything the Sun had to go through to even make it to the game.

Curt Miller says that the Connecticut Sun haven’t had any practice time ahead of Game 3 against the Dallas Wings due to travel complications. #WNBATwitter

“Until shootaround this morning, we hadn’t been on a basketball court since Sunday.” pic.twitter.com/b0LMyLk4NH

— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) August 24, 2022

“We haven’t had any practice time,” Miller said on Wednesday morning hours before the playoff game. Miller emphasized that while the WNBA endeavored to get Sun players and staff a charter flight to Dallas, weight restrictions for the flight made traveling together impossible.

Miller and the team arrived on Monday after midnight, and the rest of the travel party arrived on Tuesday after dealing with more flight delays and cancellations. At dinner on Tuesday night, all of their gear arrived, and the team was finally able to shoot on the court Wednesday morning.

Connecticut Sun overcome unfair odds to advance to WNBA Semifinals

Now, the Sun enter the WNBA Semifinals facing the Chicago Sky, who were the incredible underdogs who won it all in 2021. The Sun are still a top-tier team, and the first round of playoffs ensured that the most dominant regular season teams would continue onward towards a championship. The second and first seeds of both the Eastern and Western Conferences all made the semis: Chicago, Connecticut, Seattle and Las Vegas.

Perhaps the Sun were able to find a way to win after three haggard days away from the court, but it won’t be that simple as they face the Sky on Sunday. Coach Miller assured fans that the Sun has what it takes to move forward.

“Our team is incredibly confident in what they do and who they are,” Miller said, per ESPN’s M.A. Voepel. “We’re back to the semis for four straight years. This group wants to take another step, and there’s not one person that’s going to pick us to beat Chicago. So we’re going to go with the underdog mentality and give it our best shot.”

But the Sun shouldn’t have had to go through so much hardship to get here. Cancelled flights have been a widespread issue throughout the WNBA season, with Los Angeles Sparks star Nneka Ogwumike publicly sharing a week in which flight cancellations affected their on-court performance.

Flight issues have been a problem in the W, in past seasons and in the current one. Both Breanna Stewart and Natasha Cloud were out with COVID-19 they contracted on commercial flights.

Unfortunately, it’s yet another issue that WNBA player uniquely face.

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