Uncasville, Conn. (July 19, 2017) – The WNBA announced today that Connecticut Sun head coach Curt Miller and his staff will coach the Eastern Conference in Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 on Saturday at KeyArena in Seattle.
Miller and his staff will replace New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer and his staff while Laimbeer tends to a family matter.
“We’re excited as a staff, but we know our place,” Miller said. “This is Bill Laimbeer and his staff’s opportunity and we are just substitutes. We are very excited about being in first place as we head into the All-Star break and we look forward to coaching this great All-Star team…But we are just filling in and we are going to do the best job we can for Bill and that great staff in New York.”
Under Miller and assistants Steve Smith and Nicki Collen, the Sun have rebounded from a 1-5 start to hold the third-best record in the league (12-8). Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones and Jasmine Thomas will start for the Eastern Conference while Alyssa Thomas was selected as a reserve Tuesday.
Laimbeer earned the right to coach the East All-Stars after the Liberty finished with the best regular-season record in the conference in 2016. The Connecticut staff was selected to fill in by virtue of having the best record in the conference this season as of July 10. Minnesota head coach Cheryl Reeve will lead the West after leading the Lynx to the West’s top record last season.
It was also announced that forward Rebekkah Brunson of the Minnesota Lynx and guard Sugar Rodgers of the New York Liberty have been named by WNBA President Lisa Borders to replace two injured players in Saturday’s game. Brunson, 35, will be making her fourth All-Star appearance and first since 2013. She will replace Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, who suffered knee and ankle injuries on July 14.
Rodgers will make her All-Star debut in her fifth WNBA season. She will fill the spot vacated by Washington Mystics forward-guard Elena Delle Donne, who injured her ankle on July 14 after being selected as a starter for the East in voting by fans, WNBA players and media. Miller, in his role as East head coach, will choose Delle Donne’s replacement in the starting lineup.
The 26-year-old Rodgers is third in the WNBA in made three-point shots (39). She is averaging 12.7 points per game and posting career highs in rebounds (4.2 rpg), assists (2.6 apg) and steals (1.2 spg).
The Sun will be in action next on Wednesday, July 19th when they travel to New York to take on the Liberty at 11 a.m. Connecticut returns home to take on the Chicago Sky on July 25th. Game time is set for 7 p.m. ET and tickets are available on ConnecticutSun.com.