The Connecticut Sun answered a double-digit loss to the Dallas Wings last month by winning 11 of their final 14 games during the regular season.
That late surge in the standings helped the Sun earn the third seed and home-court advantage in their first-round series. That best-of-three set begins with Game 1 on Thursday when they host the sixth-seeded Wings in Uncasville, Conn.
Dallas, however, won two of three encounters against Connecticut during the regular season, including an 82-71 decision on July 5.
Sun guard Natisha Hiedeman isn't fazed by that, however. She said the team bonded as it overcame injuries, COVID-19-related absences and other potential pitfalls.
"Now, we've got all the right pieces," Hiedeman said. "We're in it together, and I think we've got a lot of momentum going into the playoffs. The energy is great. The confidence is amazing."
Former WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones averaged team-leading totals in points (14.6), rebounds (8.5) and blocks (1.2) this season. Jones, however, has scored below her team average against Dallas in all three games this season.
Brionna Jones followed up being the WNBA's Most Improved Player of the Year by capturing the league's Sixth Woman of the Year honors. Teammate Alyssa Thomas claimed Comeback Player of the Year honors after returning from an Achilles injury that she sustained in January 2021.
Either Jonquel Jones or Brionna Jones will be tasked with keeping Teaira McCowan in check. McCowan was named the Western Conference Player of the Month on Tuesday after averaging 17.4 points and 11.6 rebounds over her last seven games.
Dallas, however, will be without All-Star guard Arike Ogunbowale for the series due to an abdominal injury. Ogunbowale, who scored 20 points against Connecticut on July 5, averaged a team-high 19.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game this season.
Marina Mabrey has flourished in six games when playing without Ogunbowale, averaging 21.3 points, 4.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds.
"Our team chemistry in general," Mabrey said of what she liked about this season. "All of us have great personalities. We're able to talk to each other and be honest with each other. We can argue and still be best friends with each other."
--Field Level Media