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