Connecticut Sun guard, former UConn star Bria Hartley out for remainder of season with torn ACL

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Just a little over a week after she signed with the Connecticut Sun, Bria Hartley will miss the remainder of the WNBA season, the team announced Wednesday.

The former UConn guard suffered an ACL tear in her left knee in a win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday. She went down in visible pain after her left leg twisted in the opposite direction as she tried to save a ball from going out of bounds.

Hartley averaged 4.7 points, 1.3 assists and 1.0 steals in three games for the Sun, including the six minutes she played before suffering the injury on Sunday.

“The way she played, like when you saw her out there with us it just looked like she was had been with us before,” Sun forward Jonquel Jones said. “We appreciate that energy and we were so excited about the future for her with our team. But ultimately now it’s about her getting healthy and focusing on her body and us just giving her that love and that support, which is all we can do right now. Definitely our hearts go out to her.”

Hartley signed a rest of season contract with the Sun last Monday, adding a much-needed veteran point guard presence that had been missing since Jasmine Thomas tore her ACL earlier in the season. The move came after Hartley was waived by the Indiana Fever, which she joined from the Phoenix Mercury in a three-team trade over the offseason.

This is the second major injury for Hartley in the last two years , as she tore the ACL in her right leg in the WNBA bubble in 2020, back when she was with the Mercury. After her first game with the Sun last Tuesday, she spoke about how good it felt to be back on the court following that rehab process. Now she’ll have to work to come back from another injury.

“It’s terrible,” Sun guard Courtney Williams said. “She worked so hard to get back, right. Just her story and her process, and to get here and she was gonna be such a big factor in what we were about to do and trying to accomplish.”

Hartley was a two-time national champion at UConn in 2013 and 2014, before being taken seventh overall in the 2014 WNBA Draft. She was drafted by the Seattle Storm and traded to the Washington Mystics that night, and spent three seasons with Washington. She was later traded to the New York Liberty before the 2017 season and signed with the Mercury as a free agent in 2020.

Hartley has averaged 7.9 points, 2.6 assists and 2.2 rebounds per game in nine seasons in the WNBA.

Sun add another player to roster

Bria Hartley’s injury triggered the hardship contract exception for the Sun, allowing them to subsequently sign guard Kiana Williams to a 7-day contract Wednesday.

Williams, a 5-8 former Stanford guard, was drafted 18th overall in the 2021 WNBA Draft by the Seattle Storm. She appeared in 10 games for the Storm that season before being waived.

Williams signed a training camp contract with the Phoenix Mercury ahead of this season, but was waived. She then signed a hardship contract with Seattle in May, where she averaged 1.7 points, 0.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists across three games.