Sports

Jones off to a hot start for the Sun

Jonquel “JJ” Jones is once again proving herself on the world’s biggest stage for women’s professional basketball.

Through three games in the 2020-2021 Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), the Bahamian phenomenon is averaging a double-double and has her team, the Connecticut Sun, off to just their third 3-0 start in franchise history. They are tied with the New York Liberty for the best record in the Eastern Conference and in the entire league.

Jones exploded for 26 points in their opener, and then added double-doubles in their last two games to lead the Sun to the undefeated start. She missed last season, citing COVID-19 concerns and a desire to spend more time with family, but she hasn’t missed a beat in her return to the WNBA this season.

On Wednesday, Jones had another efficient outing, scoring 17 points on almost a perfect shooting night from the field, leading the Sun past the Indiana Fever, 88-67, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Jones shot 7-for-8 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. She is shooting 61.1 percent from the field in three games, seventh-best in the WNBA, but first among those with at least 25 attempts.

The Bahamian superstar is averaging a career-high 19 points, 10.7 rebounds, a career-high three assists, a steal and one block per game – putting up Most Valuable Player (MVP) numbers early in the season. Jones is tied for ninth in the league in scoring, tied for fourth in rebounding, seventh in field goal percentage and actually tied for the lead in the league with her teammate DeWanna Bonner in three-point percentage among those with at least 10 attempts. More importantly, she has led the Sun to an unbeaten start through three games.

The Sun is showing great chemistry and consistency on both ends of the floor – top five in both offense and defense so far this season. They lead the league in offensive rating, are second in assists, three-point percentage and three-pointers made, third in field goal percentage and fourth in scoring. On defense, they’re second in the league in points allowed, fourth in defensive rating and fifth in steals per game.

It’s been a total team effort for the Sun so far, and Jones is leading the charge.

It doesn’t get any easier for them though as they face three top teams in the West in their next three games before heading home to host Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics – a team which beat them three games to two in the finals two seasons ago.

Jones and the Sun take on the Phoenix Mercury at the Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona, tonight, the Las Vegas Aces, who knocked them out in the WNBA semifinals a season ago, at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday, and the WNBA Champions Seattle Storm at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Washington, on Tuesday.

As for the game on Wednesday night, Jones and the Sun took control with a 13-2 scoring run in the first quarter and never looked back. They led by as much as 22 points in the second quarter, were ahead 50-33 at the half, and coasted to victory in the second half. The lead grew to 23 in the third and 28 in the fourth before the Sun settled for the 21-point victory.

Natisha Hiedeman came off the bench and had 19 points, six assists and three steals to lead the Sun. Jones added 17 points, 11 boards, five assists and two steals. Brionna Jones contributed 16 points, and Bonner added 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Danielle Robinson led the Fever with 12 points. Tiffany Mitchell was the only other player in double figures for them with 10.

Jones and the Sun will begin their three-game western trip against the Mercury tonight – a team they defeated 86-78 in Uncasville earlier this week.

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