Sports

Jones notches double-double in WNBA All-Star Game

Playing in her second all-star game in her four-year career in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), Jonquel “JJ” Jones dropped a double-double of 13 points and 13 rebounds in 19 minutes of play, but she and Team Delle Donne fell to Team Wilson, 129-126, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, on Saturday.

Jones was voted in as a starter this year for the first time in her career, and she also participated in the WNBA All-Star Skills Challenge on Friday night.

Her 13 points came on 5-of-11 shooting from the field that included 3-of-9 from three-point territory.

The forward/center also had one block and three assists in the loss.

Team Wilson jumped out to a staggering 39-23 first-quarter lead as they connected on seven three-pointers.

Jones and Team Delle Donne won every quarter after that but that first-quarter lead proved to be too difficult of a hole to climb out of.

Team Wilson connected on 21 three-pointers in total, and held off a late comeback by Team Delle Donne. Those 21 three-pointers were the most three-point shots in a WNBA All-Star Game.

The Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the game was the Indiana Fever’s Erica Wheeler. She scored 25 points and dished out seven assists.

Phoenix Mercury forward/center Brittney Griner provided the highlights of the night, putting down three slam dunks. She became the first player with multiple dunks in a WNBA All-Star Game.

In the skills challenge, Jones was one of eight participants along with Griner, Chicago Sky guards Diamond DeShields and Courtney Vandersloot, Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier and guard Odyssey Sims, Seattle Storm guard/forward Sami Whitcomb, and Atlanta Dream forward/center Elizabeth Williams.

Jones was paired with Collier in the skills challenge. After three challenges – dribble, pass and lay-up – Jones managed to recover and hit the three-point shot to move into the semifinals.

Like the first round, Jones managed to recover in the second part of the challenge in the semis and took care of Vandersloot to get into the final.

In the final, it was a big against a guard as Jones went up against DeShields. It was a close finish as Jones was ahead of DeShields at one point. However, the Sky guard caught up with her after Jones missed her first three-pointer. In the end, DeShields hit a successful three-point shot on her first try to win the challenge. Jones’ second try went in.

Later that night, Jones’ teammate with the Connecticut Sun, Shekinna Stricklen, won the three-point contest.

Jones is having a great season for the Sun, averaging 15.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 1.2 steals per game. She is shooting 46.3 percent from the field.

Jones leads the WNBA in rebounds and blocks this season. In rebounds, she is ahead of Griner who has 2.2 blocks per contest this season. New York Liberty’s Amanda Zahui is third with 2.0 blocks per game.

In the rebounding category, Jones is the only player averaging double digits. Her closest competitor is Sylvia Fowles from the Lynx with 9.8 boards per contest. Sitting in third is the Los Angeles Sparks Nneka Ogwumike with 9.4 rebounds per game.

The Sun is tied with the Las Vegas Aces at the top of the WNBA standings with a 13-6 win/loss record. The Sun went into the break on a four-game winning streak which came after losing five straight games.

The WNBA regular season resumes tomorrow night. The Grand Bahama native will be in action when the Sun takes on the Sky at 7 p.m. That game will be held at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

With 15 games remaining in the season, Jones and the Sun are looking to finish strong and make a deep playoff run.

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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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