The Day – Sun begins Friday against Fever with a hectic nine-game, 17-day schedule

Mohegan – Connecticut sun guard Natisha Hiedeman had to adjust to some drastically new experiences while playing for Nadezhda Orenburg in Russia during the WNBA offseason.

The cold didn’t bother Hiedeman too much (she grew up in Green Bay), but the lack of sunlight was a bit of a shame. Then there were the trips, such as a two-day trip the team took last December to play Olympiacos FC in Piraeus, Greece.

Yes, a two day trip.

“Russia is just so big,” Hiedeman said. “It took forever to get anywhere.”

Connecticut is on the verge of a long and grueling schedule of its own — five games in nine days and nine games in 17 days. The grind begins Friday when Indiana Fever is played in the first game of a home-and-home series (7 p.m., Mohegan Sun, NESN Plus).

“Think about it — we’d be playing nine games in 17 days in (five) different (parts of the country),” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said.

The Sun (2-1) will leave the arena shortly after Friday’s game, take a bus to Windsor Locks and spend the night at a hotel at Bradley International Airport. Not that they’ll be spending much time at the hotel.

Connecticut booked all flights back in December, but Miller said that flight changed “six or seven times.” The end result is that the team has to take two flights, with the coaching staff flying off on the first.

Check-in time for the first flight is 4:45 am. Players must be at the ticket office by 6:00 am

When asked if he was going to sleep, Miller smiled, then said, “No, not on this track.”

The WNBA doesn’t allow teams to charter, so imagine trying to get comfortable on a cramped commercial flight if you have Brionna Jones (6-foot-3), DeWanna Bonner (6-4), or Jonquel Jones ( 6-6).

Connecticut plays Sunday in Fever (2-4). It flies back home and hosts the Dallas Wings on May 17th and 19th and the Washington Mystics on May 21st. Then the fun really begins as the sun heads west and takes on the Las Vegas Aces (May 31 and June 2), the Phoenix Mercury (June 3) and the Seattle Storm on (June 5).

Connecticut returns home to host Indiana again on June 8th.

Playing so many games in so many cities in such a short amount of time leaves WNBA teams with little to no time to practice. Sun players can read and view scouting reports on their smartphones or computers.

“To think that they would train (every day) … it’s very difficult,” Miller said. “It’s unfortunate that you have to clean things up after the fact. When we arrive in an opposing city, we usually go straight from the airport to the practice ground, and when we’re not training, we usually go straight to the hotel conference room that we reserved and go straight to the filming (study room).”

Connecticut will have flown over 7,600 miles by the end of the trip. For comparison, New London to Tokyo is about 6,745 miles.

“I’m going to be tired, sleepy tired,” Hiedeman said of how she feels at the end of a long car ride. “It’s just a lot.”

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