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Kolby KickingWoman 

The Connecticut Sun of the WNBA are trying to win the organization’s first championship but the team already has a historic first under its belt.

In the late ‘90s, the Mohegan Tribe bought the then Orlando Miracle and became the first tribe to own a professional sports team. The team was later renamed the Connecticut Sun and relocated to Connecticut.

Mohegan Chairman James Gessner said the tribe is very proud to be the first to own a professional sports team.

“We see the Sun as a way to share and amplify our culture and tradition, part of our broader efforts to continually raise the voice of indigenous and diverse peoples,” Gessner said in an email to ICT. “Sports have always been a way to bring people and communities together, and we are humbled to serve as a unifying force for the fans, our tribe, our community, and the State of Connecticut.”

The team name and logo “comes from its affiliation with Mohegan Sun and the logo -- a fiery orange sunburst, a WNBA basketball and a blue ribbon with four white semicircular domes -- is a modern interpretation of an ancient Mohegan symbol,” according to the tribe’s website.

Gessner said the team’s jerseys were designed and inspired by Gladys Tantaquidgeon, a Mohegan elder who was a pioneer for social justice. Additionally, the design on the home court “symbolizes the single spirit on the Trail of Life that brings the team together to play as a family,” he said.

Connecticut has enjoyed successful seasons over the years since the tribe has owned the team. Including this year, they have been in the WNBA Finals four times, with the first two trips to the championship round coming in back-to-back years in 2004 and 2005.

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Facing elimination in the WNBA Finals, the Connecticut Sun head to the friendly confines of home at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut for game 3 Thursday evening vs. the Las Vegas Aces.

While they are 0-3 in the WNBA Finals overall, the team has been much better in elimination games this postseason. So far, Connecticut is 3-0 in win-or-go-home games this playoff season.

Forward Jonquel Jones said after game 2 the team is taking it, “one game at a time.”

“That’s all we can do,” Jones said “We are going to go back home, we are going to have our fans behind us, who have been with us all season, and we are going to use that to propel us to a win and that’s all we can do.”

Regardless of the outcome of the Finals, Gessner said the tribe is “filled with pride” to see the team on the game’s biggest stage.

“The team has worked and trained tirelessly to get to this point, and we know they are ready. These women have poured their heart and soul into this season, and no matter tonight’s outcome they will have done our tribe and all of Connecticut a great honor.”

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