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A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Post players look to impress in Sun preseason opener

When the Connecticut Sun hosts New York in Sunday's preseason opener most of the attention will be on first-round picks Chiney Ogwumike and Alyssa Thomas.

However, the game figures to be of more importance to some other post players.

With the Sun not expecting to have Kelsey Bone or Yelena Leuchanka in uniform on Sunday, this is a chance to players like Kelley Cain, Kayla Pedersen and DeNesha Stallworth to prove they are worthy of earning a roster spot.

While there could be some surprises by the time the Sun's regular-season roster is finalized, I would have to think that Ogwumike, Thomas and Bone will be joined by Alex Bentley, Katie Douglas, Kelly Faris, Kalana Greene, Kelsey Griffin, Allison Hightower, Danielle McCray and Renee Montgomery will make the team. That leaves one spot for another post player.

At media day there were some interesting comments from Sun head coach Anne Donovan and assistant coach Jen Gillom.

Donovan's statement that "we are going to be a better rebounding team" was certainly one that caught my attention considering that the Sun no longer have the services of Tina Charles, who is as good of a rebounder as there is in the WNBA.

Gillom raved about the work ethic of the rookies and also has loved the attitude displayed by Bone from afar.

"Kelsey Bone, another one coming in here who is eager to work," Gillom said. "She has been contacting us every day saying that she can't wait to get to work. You like to hear things like that. The young players we have here, Stallworth, she works hard every single day and they stay after practice. I love it."

A player like Thomas offers versatility when it comes time to finalizing the roster as she can play both in the post and on the wing. It will be interesting to see if the Sun cut loose another perimeter player to make room for an additional post player. If that happens it will likely come down to choosing to cut Faris, Greene or McCray. I think it is more likely that they keep the perimeter players and utilize Thomas as a power forward.

It's looking like McCray and Hightower will be good to go for the preseason opener and perhaps Montgomery will be able to play in the game as well. There has been some red tape involving Leuchanka which is not a good thing for her since this staff does not have familiarity with her.

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