Courtside with DeWanna Bonner

An unfiltered Q&A with WNBA players — past and present.

Hello and welcome to Courtside.

Take a break from the game. Pull up a chair. Settle in. Have some water. And relax. 

As often as I can, I’ll be bringing you honest, revealing and fun Q&As with some of the greatest players in WNBA history as well as rookies, veterans and All-Stars in the league today. 

Now, let’s get to the conversation.

NBAE/Getty Images/Connecticut Sun

DeWanna Bonner, 33, is a two-time WNBA Champion (2009, 2014), three-time WNBA All-Star (2015, 2018, 2019), and three-time Sixth Woman of the Year (2009-2011). She was drafted fifth overall by the Phoenix Mercury in the 2009 WNBA Draft and spent 10 years there before joining the Connecticut Sun in free agency in Spring 2020. Bonner played her college ball at Auburn University where she broke the career scoring record, becoming one of only three players in Auburn history to finish with more than 2,000 points (2,162) and 1,000 rebounds.

“We know DB gets a lot of the action. There’s a lot of isolation, she runs, she’ll have the ball in her hands a fair bit. It’s not going to be just one person that’s going to be able to stop her. We’re going to have some different looks out there and hopefully she has a bad night scoring.”

— Mercury head coach, Sandy Brondello before the first regular season matchup between the Sun and the Mercury in August 2020 (Arizona Republic)

Bonner averaged 19.7 points and 7.8 rebounds during the regular season and helped lead the Sun to a huge playoff win (23 points and 12 rebounds) in a first round single-elimination game against the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky (94-81) on Tuesday night. The Sun face a second round single-elimination game tonight, against the third-seeded Los Angeles Sparks — the same team Bonner dropped a season-high 34 points on back in July:

What was the most surreal thing about being in a different uniform this season?

I’m not sure if it’s surreal, but it’s been a lot of fun getting to know my teammates in Connecticut. The organization has been great. Definitely a different feeling, because I’ve been somewhere for ten years. But it’s been a lot of fun. And I love it so far. So far so good.

What was the most attractive thing to you about joining the Sun?

The players, the roster. Amber Cox is one of my closest — I guess, friends (laughs). So those things and of course my babies came in to factor and I just felt like it was a great place for them to be. Unfortunately, we’re not there this summer because of the bubble but everything has just kind of lined up and it was very important for them to be comfortable. So that was the main thing.

How were you able to turn around the season as a team after a shaky start and a five-game losing streak?

Oh, we just stuck with it as a team. I felt like I wasn’t playing, you know, the way I wanted to play. So I went back and watched video and adjusted some things, and we had a talk as a team. We just stayed with it, and it just shows the fight and the character of this team. There’s a lot about the coaches and how everybody still stayed with it. Now, we’ve put ourselves in a position to win a championship, play in a playoff spot.  

How has the shortened season been difficult/challenging for you, especially since you switched teams?

I don’t think it has anything to do about switching teams — of course, we had to find our chemistry and our flow. There’s a lot of new people on this team. Being in the bubble, playing every other day is tough. We didn’t have a lot of time to practice and get that chemistry, so we had to use those five games (laughs) to get that and you saw the results. But once we found it, I think we’re playing great basketball right now. 

What was your favorite thing about facing the Phoenix Mercury for the first time of the season and getting the win?

It wasn’t so much of getting the win or facing them, it was just a lot of love, a lot of friendship out there. That’s like family to me. Phoenix took great care of me and my girls, so I couldn’t ask for a better organization for ten years straight there. That was home, will always be home. But now I’m here in Connecticut and building new relationships, new friendships — can’t wait for them to meet the girls, so I’m excited. It was just a lot of love out there and very emotional. It was fun. 

What is it like being a parent in the Wubble?

Unfortunately, the babies aren’t here. Being away from them is extremely difficult. The more you’re here, the more you kind of miss them. And it’s really hard. I actually had to spend their birthday here, knowing that they’re 45 minutes up the road. I almost escaped a time or two, but they are living their best life right now. They go swimming every day, go to school, go out and ride bikes, and you know, they don’t want to talk to me on the phone (laughs). But as long as they are taken care of — thank God for family and everybody who has pitched in to help. I’m just grateful for that part. 

What’s something about you that people would be surprised to know or wouldn’t expect?

I don’t know. I’m pretty quiet. I’ve opened up a little bit, but most people don’t know that I’m actually really, really quiet. Even though on the basketball court, I don’t seem it. But I pretty much keep to myself and do my own thing. 

What’s your guilty pleasure? Could be a song, movie, food, etc.? 

Probably candy. Yeah . . . I have a small addiction to candy. I eat it pretty much all day and night. But I have a good dentist and I brush my teeth. I don’t have any cavities, so that’s a good thing. But candy is pretty much it.

What’s your go-to hype song before a game?

I don’t really listen to hype songs. I like to calm myself down a little bit, because I’m so pumped up before big games. So I kind of listen to slow music and try to settle my mind down. 

Who’s got next? 

• WNBA scoring leader and Dallas Wings point guard, Arike Ogunbowale

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