Alyssa Thomas, Black Knight of the Connecticut Sun — Bri Jones talks awards season — Must-click women’s basketball links

The IX: Basketball Wednesday with Howard Megdal, September 15, 2021

When word came on Tuesday that Alyssa Thomas was all-systems-go for the Connecticut Sun, amid a season when they have succeeded without her (top seed, not bad!) and well ahead of schedule for her injury, I was reminded of this famous moment in sporting history.

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The truth is, though, the Black Knight is not a great comp for Thomas, since by any measure but his, he lost this battle, and not only does AT continue on, she has played at a high level throughout her injury-managed career.

Witness her decision to play through a pair of torn labrums, willing her teams deep into the playoffs while doing so. Witness Curt Miller’s eagerness to add her to a mix that, let’s face it, looks like it is working better than any WNBA combo in the league already.

I still remember when the elite PR person for the Connecticut Sun, Annette Hogan-Auchmoody, told us that Thomas was tired of talking about playing through her injured shoulders. And it is understandable — it’s something that came up in every profile, and she’d proven she could do it. What’s the next challenge?

But should she return and resume her unique game — seriously, no one distributes and rebounds in the cohesive way she does, leading to transition opportunities and second shots in abundance — she should expect to hear about it, since she’s playing with two still-injured shoulders and on an achilles that was torn nine months ago. Nine months ago!

In case the New York Liberty’s week wasn’t already looking dramatic, with a playoff-implicated showdown Friday against the franchise’s former signature star, it just got even more fascinating.

Buckle up, everybody.

This week in women’s basketball

The great PJ Brown on Lauren Ware.

Terrific Charlotte Carroll piece on when the WNBA played Radio City.

Alexa Philippou catches up with Swin Cash.

Tea with A and Phee catches up with the Holidays.

This Mike Jensen idea of a tournament to honor Mel Greenberg is 1000% endorsed by me.

And Maitreyi Anantharaman captured Mel so well here.

Hear from Mel himself here.

And coverage of the speech, too!

Aerial Powers is back to her usual self.

If Los Angeles does sneak into the playoffs, this game will be why.

And maybe this is where we learned it isn’t Seattle’s year, too.

Tweet of the week

Five at The IX: Bri Jones, Connecticut Sun

Here’s what Bri had to say on Tuesday, ahead of the final week of awards campaigning by all WNBA teams.

Bri Jones. (Screenshot from WNBA Media Central)

Mondays: Soccer
By: Annie Peterson, @AnnieMPeterson, AP Women’s Soccer
Tuesdays: Tennis
By: Joey Dillon, @JoeyDillon, Freelance Tennis Writer
Wednesdays: Basketball
By: Howard Megdal, @HowardMegdal, The Next
Thursdays: Golf
By: Addie Parker, @addie_parker, The IX
Fridays: Hockey
By: @TheIceGarden, The Ice Garden
Saturdays: Gymnastics
By: Lela Moore, @runlelarun, Freelance Writer

Written by Howard Megdal

Howard is the founder of The Next and editor-in-chief.