Friday, Nov 15, 2019
HomeSports ScopeJonquel Jones cements WNBA superstar status

Jonquel Jones cements WNBA superstar status

Despite tremendous performances, single games and seasonal, crafted by Grand Bahama native Jonquel Jones, there are those who have denied her the top-quality acknowledgment she has deserved since the second year on the most noted female basketball stage.

Reference is to the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). The 2019 WNBA championship final series is underway. Two games have been played, and Jones’ Connecticut Sun and the Washington Mystics are going at it for all of the marbles. The Mystics earned home-court advantage with the best record (26-8) in the league during regular action, and the Sun (23-11) finished second in that category.

The Mystics won game one of the final series, this past Sunday (95-86); but Jones registered her finest game as a pro on Tuesday to lead a 99-87 triumph which evened the series. For the Bahamian however, Tuesday’s result was a lot more than a much-needed win against the favored Mystics.

What she did was cement her position as one of the WNBA’s superstars, without a doubt. Jones put together the greatest performance in the history of WNBA playoff action. She scored 32 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, and blocked three shots, as a huge record-breaking force. She, now, is the only 30-15 (points/rebounds) achiever in WNBA playoff history; her nine offensive rebounds made for a new standard, and Jones’ 10 rebounds in the first half tied a WNBA record.

Just to make a particular point, the likes of Lisa Leslie, Cynthia Cooper, Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings, Sheryl Swoopes, Tina Thompson, Diana Taurasi, Teresa Weatherspoon, all legends of the WNBA, never had all-round games such as what Jones accomplished on Tuesday night.

On Tuesday, she was unstoppable and the absolute common denominator in a game that saw Mystics star and 2019 WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne play just a few minutes due to back spasms. Jones’ outstanding presence, however, could not be discounted. She was masterful in every capacity. On offensive, her inside game was superior to all others. Jones showed off her nimbleness and fluid style as she maneuvered a 6-6 body like a guard at times, and, reverted to power moves when necessary to snatch rebounds and bull her way to the basket.

She stepped back and popped in the paint, then went outside and drained three-pointers. It was, on the whole, a truly masterful display, which should convince even the most conservative pundits that the uniquely-talented Bahamian is one of the higher echelon players in the WNBA.

In fact, the view here is that if the Sun squad prevails and Jones becomes the second born-Bahamian (Mychal Thompson with two NBA titles in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform is the first) to win the highest team basketball honor in the world, the case could be made already for her to be installed among the all-time greats of the WNBA, and indeed the world.

Her credentials are quite notable, thus far. Jones was the first WNBA player to hit the 400-rebound threshold, when she won her first rebound title in 2017. She was the rebounding champion again this past season. Add as well, two All-Star starting lineups, the WNBA Most Improved Player Award (2017), the WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year Award (2018), WNBA Peak Performer (2018), and the WNBA All-Defensive First Team (2019).

Jones was also the Women’s Korean Basketball League’s (WKBL) champion and finals MVP (2017).

The Sun will now get an opportunity to close out the series at home in games three and four, but no matter the end result, our Jonquel Jones has been elevating her status exponentially since joining the WNBA four years ago.

Go Jonquel!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.

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