Sun’s Stephanie White Awarded 2023 WNBA Coach of the Year; Earned 3 Seed in Playoffs

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerTwitter LogoFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 17, 2023

UNCASVILLE, CT - JULY 20: Head Coach Stephanie White of the Connecticut Sun looks on during the game against the Atlanta Dream on July 20, 2023 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2023 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images

The Connecticut Sun’s Stephanie White was named the WNBA Coach of the Year on Sunday after guiding the team to a 27-13 record and a third-place finish.

Dallas Wings head coach Latricia Trammell was the runner-up, with the New York Liberty’s Sandy Bronello earning six votes for third place.

Connecticut Sun @ConnecticutSun

Setting the bar high for Year One in Connecticut 📊

Congratulations to the WNBA Coach of the Year, Stephanie White!#CTSun | #ForgedByFire 🔥

In addition to seeing head coach Curt Miller leave to accept the Los Angeles Sparks job, the Sun saw their best player, Jonquel Jones, request a trade to the Liberty in the offseason. They also traded Jamsine Thomas, who had spent the previous six seasons in Connecticut, to the Sparks, and Courtney Williams signed with the Chicago Sky.

Despite all of the turnover, White carried on the regular-season success that became the norm under Miller.

The Sun were third in net rating (4.4), per, which was a drop from their first-place finish (9.5) in 2022. That was to be expected, though, when they lost a four-time All-Star and one-time league MVP.

In general, Connecticut continued to be stifling on defense and made some slight offensive tweaks that could prove important in the postseason. The team went from 11th to sixth in average three-point makes (7.2) and got 26 percent of its points from beyond the arc, up from 22.3 percent a season ago.

The 2022 WNBA Finals laid bare how the Sun needed to change their offense a bit regardless of whether Miller stayed or went. They attempted 44 fewer threes than Las Vegas and had 10 fewer made threes.

White has made floor-spacing a slightly bigger priority, and evidence of the improvement was on display in Connecticut’s Game 1 victory over the Minnesota Lynx in the first round. It went 16-of-30 from the perimeter en route to a dominant 90-60 win.

The Sun remain a clear underdog in pursuit of the franchise’s pursuit of a first-ever WNBA title. Many expect the top-seeded Aces and No. 2 New York Liberty to be on a collision course for the Finals.

Regardless of how the postseason shakes out, White undoubtedly did enough in the regular season to earn her Coach of the Year nod.

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