Stephanie White, the newly crowned Associated Press WNBA Coach of the Year, will guide her third-seeded Connecticut Sun into Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the sixth-seeded Minnesota Lynx on Wednesday night in Uncasville, Conn.
White took over after Curt Miller left the Sun for the same position with the Los Angeles Sparks. She guided the franchise to a 27-13 record and its seventh straight playoff appearance.
"I think the biggest thing is just the resilience of this group," White said before the Sun's regular season ended with a 102-91 loss to the Chicago Sky. "You know, we've been through a lot of situations, injuries and a lot of change and this group has really been resilient and found ways to find success."
Connecticut, which lost the WNBA Finals in 2019 and 2022, now embarks on another attempt to claim its first league championship.
The Sun have been carried by leading scorer DeWanna Bonner (17.4 points per game) and MVP candidate Alyssa Thomas, who led the WNBA in total rebounds and total assists while averaging 15.5 points, 9.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game.
Brionna Jones (Achilles) remains sidelined for Connecticut. DiJonai Carrington (foot) is questionable for Game 1 and Tiffany Hayes (knee) is probable.
The Lynx took an unusual path to their 19-21 record and No. 6 playoff seed. They recovered from an 0-6 start, winning five straight games at one point before the All-Star break, but their win percentage never surpassed .500.
They laid an egg in the regular-season finale on Sunday against the Indiana Fever, losing 87-72. Coach Cheryl Reeve was highly critical of her team's performance.
"In the first quarter, we came out and we said, ‘We don't trust you, coaches. We don't trust you. We don't trust that team (Indiana) wants to be in the paint,'" Reeve told reporters. "It's rooted in trust. How do you come out in the first quarter and give up 20 points in the paint?"
Making things tougher for the Lynx, SB Nation reported that Minnesota guard Lindsay Allen (left thumb) and center Jessica Shepard (left ankle) were out for Game 1.
"We have no clue," Reeve added Sunday. "The team we're about to play in the playoffs has a big-time clue."
Napheesa Collier (21.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.6 steals per game) and Kayla McBride (14.3 ppg) have carried the Lynx.
—Field Level Media