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Jones voted starter for WNBA All-Star Game

About a week after being named as Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Player of the Month for July, Bahamian Jonquel Jones achieved another milestone, being named as a starter for next week’s WNBA All-Star Game at KeyArena in Seattle, Washington, USA. Coincidentally, Jones and the Sun are in the northwest USA and will play the Seattle Storm in their next regular season game at KeyArena today at 3 p.m.

In the voting process for the WNBA All-Star Game, Jones was third across the board – finishing third in fan voting, third in media rank, and third in player choice. Fans accounted for 50 percent of the vote, while a media panel and current players accounted for 25 percent each.

The 23-year-old from Holmes Rock, Grand Bahama, is having a breakout season for the Eastern Conference-leading Connecticut Sun. Jones has started all 17 games in place of the injured Chiney Ogwumike this season, and is averaging a double-double, 15.9 rebounds and 11.8 rebounds. The first-time WNBA All-Star is 12th in scoring in the league, and currently leads in rebounds. She is on pace to break Tina Charles’ single-season record for total rebounds (398 in 2010). Jones currently has 201 rebounds through 17 games, with 17 more to go.

Jones, a 6’6” post player from George Washington University, is also seventh in the league in field goal percentage at 53.7, and is tied for seventh in blocks at 1.5 per game.

Joining Jones on the East’s starting line-up are her teammate Jasmine Thomas (guard), former league Most Valuable Players (MVPs) Tina Charles of the New York Liberty (frontcourt) and Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics (frontcourt), and Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream (guard). Jones, Thomas and Hayes are all first-time all-stars.

The West starting squad will comprise of 10-time All-Star selection Sue Bird (guard), former league MVPs Diana Taurasi of the Phoenix Mercury (guard), Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx (frontcourt) and Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks (frontcourt), and 2015 Finals MVP Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx (frontcourt).

With her 10th all-star selection, Bird has tied retired Indiana Fever star Tamika Catchings for the most in WNBA history.

After all votes were tallied, players were ranked in each conference by position within each of the three voting groups. Each player’s score was calculated by averaging her weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes. The five players (two guards and three frontcourt players) with the best score in each conference were named starters for all-star game.

The Verizon WNBA All-Star 2017 Game will be played on Saturday July 22, in Seattle. The game will be nationally televised nationally on ABC at 3:30 p.m. that Saturday, and will be broadcasted globally in more than 200 countries and territories. Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve will serve as the West Head Coach and Bill Laimbeer of the New York Liberty will guide the East after the Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their respective conferences in 2016.

Before the season started, Jones was voted by WNBA general managers as the player most likely to have a breakout season. She certainly hasn’t disappointed her fans.

Jones is having a career year in both points and rebounds. She became the 13th player in WNBA history to record a 20-20 game in a single season, and is just the third WNBA player to ever record multiple 20-rebound games in the same season. She had 20 rebounds in the season opener against Atlanta on May 13, and again on Sunday May 28 against the Chicago Sky. Tina Charles had three in 2010 and Sylvia Fowles had two in 2013. Coincidentally, Lynx center Fowles is the only other player in the league averaging a double-double this season.

Second-year player Jones has led the Sun to a 10-7 win/loss record this season, setting her team up to qualify for the WNBA playoffs for the first time in five seasons. The Sun has won two conference titles in its history, but never a league championship.

Jones is hoping to lead them to the promised land this year.

 

 

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