Sports

‘JJ’ nabs WNBA Peak Performer in rebounds a third time

Forward also wins third Player of the Month award

For a third time in her career, Bahamian and Connecticut Sun Jonquel “JJ” Jones walked away as the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Peak Performer in the rebounding category the league announced yesterday afternoon. As if that was not enough, the forward went on to also secure her third Kia WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month award of the season when the league announced she won it again for the month of the September.

Jones won the rebounding award for her 11.2 boards per game throughout the season as she was an unstoppable force on the glass. She first won the award in 2017 then won it in 2019. Jones opted out of last season bubble-format because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was a dominating month for the Grand Bahama native as she punctuated her season with a 15.4 points per game, 12 rebounds per game, three assists per game stat line for the month of September. She won the award back in May and August – a strong statement for the league’s Most Valuable Player Award that can be announced later this week.

She helped the Sun to a 26-6 win/loss record on the season to secure the league’s best record.

The Sun’s leader in the rebounding category for the season had a season-high 17 rebounds one day after The Bahamas’ Independence Day against the New York Liberty. She pulled in 16 of those 17 rebounds on the defensive glass for her highest defensive rebounds total of the season. On the offensive glass she had a season high of six offensive boards.

In the 27 games she played, Jones finished with 303 total rebounds where she had 236 rebounds on the defensive side and 67 on the offensive side. It was her third highest rebounding total in a season with 403 rebounds in 2017 being her highest and 330 rebounds in 2019 being her second highest.

Out of her 27 games played this season, the former George Washington University standout had 19 games where she grabbed 10 or more rebounds. She was able to end the season with four straight games pulling down double digit rebounds.

Finishing second to Jones in the league this season in rebounds was the Minnesota Lynx Sylvia Fowles with 10.1 boards. The Indiana Fever’s Teaira McCowan was third in the league with 9.6 boards a contest.

The other Peak Performers for this season were the Washington Mystic Tina Charles and the Chicago Sky Courtney Vandersloot. Charles got it in scoring when she led the league with 23.4 points per game while Vandersloot led the league with 8.6 assists per game.

The WNBA superstar was a force as she helped to lead the Sun to a perfect 5-0 win/loss record in the month of September. She had a double-double in four of those games including a 21-point and 12-rebound night in a 75-57 blowout victory against the Los Angeles Sparks. She was one rebound shy of her season high with 16 in a 76-67 victory over a surging Phoenix Mercury team.

The perfect run in September was a continuation of their perfect run in August. The perfect September included the 2020 Sun team becoming a part of the franchise history when they set the franchise record for the most consecutive wins with 13 wins on Wednesday against the Liberty. They extended it to 14 consecutive wins with an 84-64 victory over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday afternoon to close out their regular season play.

Jones was not the only Sun collecting a monthly award. Her coach, Curt 

Miller earned the Coach of the Month Award for a consecutive month.

The Western Conference Player of the Month Award went to Kelsey Plum who finished with 21.7 points per game, 3.2 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game.

The Sun return to action on Tuesday, September 28 to play in the semifinal after getting a double-bye in the postseason for having the best regular season record. Their opponent will be decided at a later date.

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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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