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The Connecticut Sun are a league-best 11-1 heading into their Saturday matinee matchup with the Dallas Wings. They lead all teams in overall defensive rating (90.9) and give up the fewest fast break points (8.8) and points off turnovers (13.7) per game in the WNBA this season. 

Fourth-year player DiJonai Carrington has emerged as the driving force for the Sun's excellent backcourt defene. The California-native is often assigned the best offensive guard on the opposing team, and through 12 games, that has meant guarding Indiana Fever rookie guard Caitlin Clark three times.

If you ask Carrington, guarding Clark is no different than covering any of the other elite scorers in the WNBA that often end up as her defensive assignment. 

"All year, I've been tasked with guarding the best perimeter offensive player," Carrington told CBS Sports. "From Arike [Ogunbowale] to Kayla McBride, Jewell Loyd, there's been a ton, and there's going to continue to be a ton as we go forward throughout the season.

"Every team has one, and so I don't think my approach is different. I think it gets blown out of proportion because there's a lot more eyes on the games against Indiana because of Caitlin. I know my approach isn't different, and our team approach isn't different, either. We see Indiana as any other team in league, and we approach it as such. We're playing for each other. We're playing to our standard, not to the opponents."

Beyond her basketball routine, Carrington has a personal routine that helps her stay grounded, even as life around her fluctuates. The 26-year-old wakes up every morning and connects with her faith.

"The first thing I do is watch a sermon or do my Bible study, and so, that definitely helps to keep me grounded with the craziness of this world and the craziness of especially social media right now," she explained. "It can be really good; it can be really bad. And I've been experiencing a lot of just craziness based off of the last time we played Indiana."

Specifically, the Stanford graduate is referring to when she seemingly made a dramatic gesture to indicate she believed Clark embellished to get a foul call. 

"I mean, I don't know Caitlin. She doesn't know me. There's no animosity there," Carrington added. "But the fans take what they want, and they run with it, and so it can be tough."

Carrington quiets the noise in the morning. At other times of the day, she calls on family and friends to take her mind away from the court and put life into perspective. The best moments are when she finds herself back on the West Coast able to embrace her family and friends who come to watch her play.

"They're always at least 10-15 deep with just my friends, not even including family," she said. "So, they always keep me grounded, and I love that. Obviously, they support me as a basketball player, but they just love me as a person, whether I was hooping or not. And that's what keeps me just focused and grounded on what's actually important in life.

"I always have to start my day with with God and allow myself to just get in the right headspace before I face the world and everything that's going on." 

That doesn't mean Carrington is oblivious to what's going on around her. A recent social media messages again found her opposite Clark, at least for a moment. Before Indiana faced Atlanta on Thursday, Clark was asked vaguely about why anything involving her these days suddenly becomes a decisive national topic. As part of her response, Clark said, "It's not something I can control. … People can talk about what they want to talk about. … I'm just here to play basketball."

Carrington, like many other Black women in the United States, isn't necessarily able to solely focus on her profession once race and racism enter the chat. She took to social media to address the neutral comments from Clark. 

Later in the day, Clark was specifically asked about her name being used to fuel bigotry and racism. Clark responded more specifically and assertively the second time: "People should not be using my name to push those agendas. It's disappointing. It's not acceptable."

Balancing basketball -- especially as an elite defender on the league's best defensive team -- is hard enough without adding other elements into the mix. But WNBA players have never shied away from difficult conversations about pay equity, player equity, voting rights, LGBTQ+ issues and reproductive rights, among other serious social topics. Overwhelmingly, the players have raised their voices, and slowly but surely, the league itself has followed suit. 

Carrington is the Sun's representative on the WNBPA and spoke about the clunky rollout of the charter flights program. In other words, holding space for multiple things beyond basketball is this woman's work. And yet, she is still performing well for her team as they seek to hold their position in first place. Her mindset every game stays the same; it remains focused on defense. 

"Defense is a lot of effort and just staying locked in," Carrington said after the Sun's 89-72 win over the Fever on June 10. She is a player who often says her offense fuels her defense. This season, she is more focused on contributing with her scoring, especially now that's she's healthy. Previously, Carrington's foot rehab kept her sidelined until April, approximately one month before training camp. 

"It was a tough offseason in that aspect, but I was able to work on my body and just get stronger," she told CBS Sports before the Connecticut home opener on May 14. "I feel strong. I feel light on my feet. I feel like I'm floating out there, gliding." 

Although her 3-point shot isn't where she'd like it to be, Carrington is putting up solid offensive numbers for the Sun. She is averaging a career-high 12.5 points per game and shooting 80% from the free throw line, also a career-best. Part of the reason for her improved scoring touch is because she spent a lot of time in the gym shooting before she was cleared to run. 

"I'm able to figure out why I missed if I do miss," she explained. "It's not like, 'What's going on? Why am I missing?' I feel like that's a good feeling as a shooter, to be able to identify what the problem is and be able to fix it on the next shot."

Carrington is so in tune with her shot that she even trimmed her nails before the Fever game, and it resulted in shooting 50% (1 of 2) from the perimeter. She repeated her performance Wednesday against Chicago, so the shorter nails may stick around. Though she mentioned her nails in jest, she also circled back to her faith. "I've got to praise God every time I hit one," she told reporters playfully Wednesday. 

Really, Carrington is simply grateful for every moment on the court. 

"I don't take credit for none of this progress," she said. "Obviously, I put in the work, but at the end of the day, I could still be not being able to push off my foot and stuff like that."

Amid all the social media drama and questions she's fielding about her approach amid the red-hot start to the Sun's season, the one thing she wants people to know is how important her faith is in her life. 

"I gotta give all the glory to God because the way that it happened was just -- it can't be any other explanation," she said. "I literally -- when I tell you I was doing rehab for seven months straight in the offseason, or however long the offseason is -- and was not really seeing any progress."

The process included seeing several doctors from Boston, New York and even Los Angeles. 

"It wasn't until I really got heavy on my faith and had no choice but to lean on God that he healed me," she said. "And that's what I'm saying. It's not me; it's all glory to him."

As she continues to shed the physical and emotional burdens of being an elite athlete, Carrington and the Sun are locked in on the bigger picture. They are ready to prove themselves a WNBA team worthy of attention. 

"We're just trying to make a statement in that aspect, that there's different ways to win every night, and we're going to figure that out," Carrington said. "But it doesn't matter what the media says. It doesn't matter what the fans say because our game is going to speak for itself. And at the end of the season, hopefully, we're cutting down those nets and shutting up everybody ... or making everybody start talking, whichever way you want to see it.

"Every year, we come in with a chip on our shoulder. Even though we are at the top of the standings, people aren't talking about us like they talk about Vegas and New York. And we see it."

While the Sun's hard style of play is impossible to be overlooked by other WNBA players who battle them on the court, Connecticut still believes its a top team overlooked for other storylines. The Sun are zeroed in on the messaging within their ranks and perhaps using their underrated status to keep the main goal in focus. 

"We have something to prove, and we still haven't been able to accomplish our ultimate goal, which has been a championship. And so, every single night, that's what we're thinking about," Carrington said.