Sports

Jones re-signs with the Connecticut Sun

Bahamian Jonquel “JJ” Jones is returning to the team where she spent her entire four-year Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) career.

The 26-year-old 6’6” center has developed into one of the top female players in the world in basketball, and certainly the best women’s basketball player in Bahamian history.

Over her four-year WNBA career, Jones has won the rebounding title twice, setting the single-season rebounding title at 403, she is a two-time WNBA All-Star and two-time All-WNBA Second Team member, was the 2019 WNBA blocks leader and has won both the WNBA most improved and sixth woman awards.

On Monday, it was announced that she signed a multi-year contract to return to the Sun. Terms of the deal were not released.

Once again, Jones had a progressive season in the WNBA, leading the Sun to its first WNBA Finals appearance since 2005. The Sun finished second in the standings with a 23-11 win-loss record and lost to league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics in the finals three games to two. In game two of the finals, she had a monster performance with 32 points and 18 rebounds, becoming the first player in WNBA history to record a 30-15 game in the finals. The Sun are now winless in three appearances in the WNBA Finals.

During the team’s postseason run, Jones averaged 17.9 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. She finished the regular season averaging 14.6 points, 9.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game.

She finished third in voting behind unanimous winner Delle Donne and Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner for the 2019 WNBA MVP Award, and was tied for third in voting for the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Award. Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard was named as the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks finished second, and Jones and three-time winner Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx were tied for third.

“We are pumped to have JJ sign a multi-year contract to stay in Connecticut,” said Sun’s Head Coach and General Manager Curt Miller. “She has proven to be one of the most dominant and versatile players in the world. She continues to be one of the elite rebounders in the game and took a huge step on the defensive side of the ball in 2019. She is just scratching the surface and we look forward to her continued growth and leadership in 2020.”

In 2017, Jones grabbed 403 rebounds, a WNBA record. She is the only player in league history to collect more than 400 rebounds in a single WNBA season.

Selected sixth overall in the 2016 WNBA Draft by the Sparks, Jones was later traded to the Sun.

She came out of George Washington University as one of the top prospects in 2016 and lived up to the billing with her performance thus far. In her four-year career with the Sun, Jones has recorded 1,827 career points, 1,152 rebounds and 198 blocked shots.

Apart from dominating in the paint, both on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, Jones has shown that she could hit the long ball consistently. She improved her three-point shooting in each of her first three years in the league before falling off this past season. Jones has hit 129 three-point shots in her four years in the league, and her combined skillset has made her one of the more feared players in the league.

The Sun’s 2020 WNBA campaign tips off on May 16 when they host the New York Liberty at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

Overseas, Jones has enjoyed stints with the Asan Woori Bank Wibee in the Women’s Korean Basketball League (WKBL) in Asan, South Korea; the Shanxi Flame in the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association (WCBA) in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China; and the UMMC (Ural Mining and Metallurgical Company) Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

She plays for the national team of Bosnia and Herzegovina, looking to help that nation qualify for the FIBA (International Basketball Federation) Women’s EuroBasket 2021which is a qualifier for the 2022 FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup.

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Sheldon Longley

Sheldon Longley joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2001 as a sports reporter. He was promoted to sports editor in 2008. Sheldon has an extensive background in sports reporting. He covered three Olympic Games and three world championships, along with multiple smaller regional and local games.

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