Jones, Sun clinch top-two seed in the WNBA

With her island devastated by Hurricane Dorian, Grand Bahamian Jonquel “JJ” Jones, the starting center of the Connecticut Sun of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), performed well in her latest outing, doing so with a heavy heart. She put her team on her back, scoring 22 points and grabbing seven rebounds in a 102-72 win for the Sun over the Dallas Wings at the Mohegan Sun Arena, in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA, on Wednesday night.

With that win, the Sun clinched a top-two spot in the WNBA standings and are still alive for the top spot overall. They will have a bye that will automatically advance them to the semifinal round.

In Wednesday night’s game, Jones went 8-of-13 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. She had 18 points and six rebounds by the end of the first half.

The Grand Bahama native was one of six players on the Sun who scored in double figures.

Leading the way for the Wings was Rookie of the Year candidate Arike Ogunbowale. She had a game-high 32 points, and set a rookie record with her ninth straight game with 20-plus points.

The game was a tight one in the first quarter with the score being knotted at 12 with 3:22 remaining in that quarter.

Jones and her team went on a 12-4 scoring run to end the quarter, going up 24-16 at the end of one. Jones went 3-for-6 from the field in that quarter.

The Sun raised the intensity in the second quarter as they began to steamroll the Wings.

Jones had her way on the offensive glass, bullying her counterparts. With 3:35 remaining in the half, Jones got an offensive rebound and put back a lay-up on a Jasmine Thomas missed three-point shot. That gave her team a 35-22 lead. Jones had 12 points at this point.

With 37 seconds remaining in the second quarter and her team up 46-24, Jones by herself outscored the Wings 5-2 to put the Sun up 49-26 heading into the second half. Jones was a perfect 4-of-4 from the field in that quarter. She helped her team outscore the Wings, 21-10, in the second quarter.

The 23-point lead heading into the second half was enough to keep the Wings at bay, and the Sun still dominated in the second half, outscoring the Wings, 53-46.

As a team, the Sun shot a scorching 57.1 percent from the field while the Wings shot 43.1 percent for the game.

The Sun, who have a 23-9 win-loss record, remained within a game of the first-place Washington Mystics (24-8). They are three games ahead of third-place Los Angeles (20-12).

Tonight, the Sun will play the Chicago Sky at home at 7:30 p.m. The teams split their season match-up, 1-1. In their last match-up at the end of July, Jones’ team got the better of the Sky, 100-94.

They have a chance to set a club record for wins if they defeat the Sky, finishing the season with a 16-1 home record, and topping the 15-2 mark they had back in 2011.

After tonight’s game, they will face the Indiana Fever on Sunday afternoon in the season finale.

Semifinal tickets went on sale as of yesterday. The Sun open their 2019 playoff run on Tuesday, September 17 at home. They have not advanced to the semifinals since 2012.

Earlier this week, Hurricane Dorian pounded Jones’ island of Grand Bahama. She grew up on Holmes Rock, a settlement not too far from where Bahamian National Basketball Association (NBA) star with the Sacramento Kings Chavano “Buddy” Hield grew up. Jones and Hield both came up through the program Helping Our Youth Through Education and Sports (HOYTES) under the tutelage of Gladstone “Moon” McPhee in western Grand Bahama.

Jones said on Facebook Tuesday evening: “Hurricane Dorian has been a disaster and many people in The Bahamas are still left without food, water, clean clothes and shelter. Let’s do what we can to help those in need. #HurricaneDorian relief effort #BahamasStrong #BuddyBuckets #JJ #Abaco #GrandBahama #242totheworld.”

Jones offered relief by setting up a GoFundMe account – “Help My Bahamas – by Jonquel Jones” – for persons who want to donate, and herself has personally donated $10,000. She helped raise just under $30,000 as of yesterday afternoon.

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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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