The first week of Connecticut Sun training camp has had a bit of a Rodgers and Hammerstein vibe, i.e. "Getting To Know You."
Connecticut, new head coach Anne Donovan and her staff have been getting acclimated with one another. The Sun have been learning Donovan's system during that process, while the staff has been evaluating which players will make the 11-woman roster.
The players get their chance to prove their worth tonight when Connecticut plays host to the New York Liberty in the first of three preseason games.
"It's been going really well, just getting to know the new team and them getting to know me," Donovan said. "It's been a real pleasure to work with this group. They're very smart and very quick to pick things up. ... I'm really pleased with them as a team."
Veteran guard Tan White and rookie guard Kelly Faris, the Sun's first-round pick, won't play due to injuries. White "tweaked" her knee, Donovan said, while Faris has a stress reaction in her left foot. Faris hurt her foot during UConn's game at Notre Dame on March 12, but the injury isn't as severe as a stress fracture.
"From a guard standpoint, I may have to play Kara (Lawson) more minutes than I wanted her to play (today)," Donovan said. "We don't have as much flexibility there. In the post, we're hopefully not looking at (center) Tina (Charles) playing for long minutes, or (forward) Mistie (Bass) for long minutes. You really have to give everyone a chance to prove themselves versus New York's post game."
Donovan said that the team is looking to fill two positions - a wing and a post. She preferred not to say which players are vying for those two spots, but it's a safe assumption that they're guards Natasha Lacy and rookie Johannah Leedham, and posts Chatilla van Grinsven, Ashley Walker and Latoya Williams. Walker and Williams are undrafted rookies.
Connecticut waived rookies Anna Prins and Andrea Smith on Wednesday. They were the Sun's 2013 second- and third-round picks, respectively.
"We have some unproven players," Donovan said. "Walker hasn't really been in the league except for the blink of an eye. Van Grinsven and Williams have never been exposed to Plenette Pierson, Kara Braxton and Cheryl Ford-like players (of the Liberty). It'll be interesting to see how they handle that."