Sports

Busy night for ‘JJ’

Bahamian Jonquel Jones scores 18 in all-star win; finishes second in three-point contest

She did not carry home the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award but Bahamian Jonquel “JJ” Jones surely played like an MVP in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star Game on Wednesday night. She had the only double-double of the game. Her team, the WNBA All-Stars, took down Team USA 93-85 at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Jones who is ranked top-10 in the league in made three-pointers per game at 2.1, finished second in the MTN Dew Three-Point Contest. The Chicago Sky’s Allie Quigley won the contest – her third time emerging as the league’s best shooter via the contest.

Jones’ teammate for the night, Arike Ogunbowale, won the MVP Award, finishing with 26 points.

Playing a team-high 30 minutes, Jones was able to notch 18 points and 14 rebounds. The Connecticut Sun player also had four assists, two steals and two blocks. She connected on 7-for-14 from the field. The forward was a force from deep as she went 4-for-7 from that range.

The game shaped up for a competitive fourth quarter after the third quarter ended deadlocked at 66 points. At the 7:36 mark of the fourth quarter, Jones connected on a key three-pointer to tie the score at 71. That shot brought Jones’ game tally up to 15 points. The three-pointer ignited her team as they went on a mini 7-0 run. They led 75-71 with 6:43 remaining in the game. They held an 83-75 advantage with 4:40 remaining in the game.

The WNBA All-Stars were able to get their offense going in that quarter as they shot 11-for-19 from the field, 57.9 percent. Jones chipped in with another made three-pointer to put her team up 89-80 with 2:34 left in the game. The rest of the game, the WNBA All-Stars thwarted any attempt that Team USA made to get back in the game.

Jones’ first bucket of the game came at the 7:49 mark of the first quarter when she made a turnaround jump shot but Team USA led 8-4. Jones finished the quarter with eight points including making two three-pointers for her team midway through that quarter. Her last three-pointer ended up tying the game at 17 with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter.

Team USA finished the first quarter in the lead, 28-25. Jones and her team responded, taking a slim 44-43 lead at the end of the first half.

Although the WNBA All-Stars shot worse than Team USA – 46.4 percent to 47.3 percent, they were able to make four more three-pointers. Jones’ squad made 11 shots from deep while their opponents made just seven.

The 6’6” forward/center took part in the three-point contest during halftime against Quigley, New York Liberty guard Sami Whitcomb and Seattle Storm guard Jewell Loyd. In the first round, Jones secured her spot in the final with a whopping 27 points, securing that total by dropping in the final money ball. She finished ahead of Whitcomb (26) and Loyd (18). Quigley finished with 28 points to go up against Jones in the finals.

Jones was still superb in the final round, finishing with 24 points. Quigley made nine of her last 10 shots to win, finishing with 28 points.

The Holmes Rock native showed that ‘bigs’ can also shoot the rock.

At the all-star break, the number six pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft is still among the frontrunners for the league’s MVP Award.

Jones is one of two players who is averaging a double-double this season – the other is Washington Mystics’ Tina Charles. Jones is averaging a league-leading 11.1 rebounds per game and Charles is second with 10 rebounds per contest.

Jones has been consistent in scoring, averaging 21 points per game. She is one of four players in the league who is averaging 20 or more points per game this season. She is ranked second in the league in scoring behind Charles’ 26.3 points per contest.

Jones and the Sun will return to action on August 12 with a matchup against the Storm in the Commissioner’s Cup final.

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Simba French

Simba joined The Nassau Guardian in 2012 as a technical producer for Guardian Radio 96.9 FM. He joined the Editorial Department as a sports reporter in 2018. Simba has covered a wide range of sports stories, including the 2018 CARIFTA in Nassau, Bahamas. Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism

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