Sports

Jones’ double-double not enough as Sun lose

Performance comes on the heels of Jones’ interview with ESPN; star embraces who she is

Bahamian professional women’s basketball player Jonquel ‘JJ’ Jones scored 12 points and grabbed 11 boards but it was not enough as the Connecticut Sun fell 81-71 to the New York Liberty on Wednesday night as the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season continued.

The loss came on the same day ESPN’s Katie Barnes did a feature story on Jones: ‘Jonquel Jones and the untold story of the WNBA’s reigning MVP’ in which Jones opened up about money, her sexuality, marketability and her journey to the top, among other topics.

As for the loss, it represented the first time that the Sun lost two games in a row this season. They lost on Sunday 71-63 to the Washington Mystics, snapping a two-game winning streak. The Sun now sport a 12-6 win/loss record on the season, dropping a spot to third in the league standings.

Playing at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, the Sun did not look like the home team to start the game as the Liberty took a 27-17 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Grand Bahama native shot 6-for-14 from the field including missing all four of her shots form deep. She had seven defensive and four offensive rebounds to go with three assists. Defensively, she had a steal and a block each.

Jones made the first field goal of the game after an offensive board – a put-back layup to give the Sun a 2-0 lead to start the game. She finished the first quarter with four points and checked out with 42 seconds left in that period. After the Liberty led 17-13, they went on a 10-4 run to end the quarter.

The Sun outscored the Liberty in the second quarter 25-24. Jones brought the Sun to within four points, 36-32, with 4:49 left on the first half, but the Liberty still controlled the game. They led 51-42 heading into the third quarter.

Each time the Sun got close to the Liberty, the visiting team found a way to extend its lead. Alyssa Thomas got the Sun to within four points, 58-54, with 4:04 left in the third quarter. By the 2:50 mark, the Liberty had expanded the lead again, going up 65-54. The period ended 65-58 in favor of the Liberty.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Liberty held a 75-66 lead. The Bahamian made a driving layup with 3:12 left in the game but the Sun still trailed 70-75. That was the closest the Sun got to the Liberty the rest of the way.

The Liberty shot 44.9 percent from the field while the Sun shot 41.9 percent. The Sun made just five shots from deep compared to 13 for the Liberty. It was an almost even game on the boards as the Sun pulled down 34 boards compared to the Liberty’s 33 rebounds.

Next up for the Sun is a matchup against the Atlanta Dream on Sunday at 3 p.m. That game will be played at the Gateway Center Arena in College Park, Georgia.

In Barnes’ article, she wrote about Jones embracing and identifying herself as a lesbian and the material consequences that came with it. She also mentioned Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) cutting off their sponsorship.

Barnes wrote that Jones believes her decision to embrace her identity as a lesbian and dress more authentically came with material consequences. The Bahamas Telecommunications Company, she says, opted not to renew her contract even though her basketball performance in the United States and overseas had improved.

The reigning WNBA MVP echoed: “The only difference is that I’m openly out and dressing differently.”

BTC put out a statement on Wednesday afternoon after the article was published stating that they support inclusion.

“BTC has a strong culture supporting equality, diversity, and inclusion. As a company we do not discriminate against the LGBTQIA+ community in any form or manner,” the statement said.

The statement also said: “BTC has proudly supported the dreams of countless budding athletes through its dedicated sponsorship and commitment to youth empowerment and nation-building… BTC currently has an endorsement contract with Olympian Steven Gardiner. All endorsement contracts are executed for a specific period of time.”

The telecommunications giant has supported a number of Bahamian elite athletes over the years such as the ‘Golden Girls’, the ‘Golden Knights’, Shaunae Miller-Uibo, Tonique Williams-Darling, Jones and Gardiner.

The Grand Bahamian also spoke about how difficult it is to get more endorsement and revenue opportunities, even after receiving the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award last season. She was featured in a State Farm commercial, but said it was before accepting the MVP award. Jones said the opportunities have withered.

“There hasn’t been anything,” Jones said.

The post player said she wants to be very comfortable in who she is.

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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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