A WNBA team located in Uncasville, Connecticut. It is owned and operated by the Mohegan Sun, an Indian casino in the same location.

The Sun were formerly the Orlando Miracle, but as the team fell into financial difficulty the Mohegan Sun bought it in 2003 and moved it north. This presented a dramatic shift for the women's basketball league, for a variety of reasons:

  • Up until that point, WNBA teams were owned and operated by the NBA, who thought that women's basketball could take off as a major sport. Thus, the NBA insisted that all WNBA teams be closely tied to NBA teams; in this way, the Miracle's sibling was the Orlando Magic.
  • However, the WNBA did not take off and was instead a money-loser. After the 2002 season, the NBA cut the WNBA teams loose and allowed them to fend for themselves. When the Mohegan Sun bought and moved the Miracle, it was the first time a non-NBA group had owned a WNBA team, and it was the first time a team had been moved out of an NBA city.

  • The Mohegan Sun is a casino, and American professional sports has always been wary of gambling.
  • In 1919 the Chicago White Sox conspired to throw the World Series; in the mid-1990s certain Arizona State University men's basketball players confessed to point-shaving. However, the Mohegan Sun argued that its casino had no sports betting, and the WNBA approved its purchase.

  • Besides being the first WNBA team in a non-NBA city, the Sun are the first WNBA team located to take advantage of a hot women's college basketball market.
  • The University of Connecticut at Storrs is consistently one of the best teams in the nation, and their fans support the Huskies in droves. However, the closest WNBA team was in New York City.

    Similarly, other areas that support women's college hoops were lacking in WNBA franchises. The SEC conference is traditionally the nation's most competitive in women's basketball, and many fans come to their games, but there aren't any WNBA teams that share states with SEC schools. I cannot understand why the NBA never put a team in Atlanta, Georgia.

    The Connecticut Sun have changed all that. The new team is playing up its UConn tradition strongly; soon after moving north, the team acquired Rebecca Lobo, a star at UConn whose WNBA career has been hampered by injuries. The Sun already have Nykesha Sales, another UConn graduate, and they ought to draw a strong crowd.

    That is, if the fans aren't too busy at the slot machines.

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