Sports

Jones, Sun close out season with 14th straight win

Sun takes down Dream 84-64

Bahamian professional basketball player Jonquel “JJ”Jones dropped a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun (26-6) take down the Atlanta Dream (8-24), 84-64, to end their regular season with a franchise record 14 straight wins yesterday afternoon.

The 14-game win streak was the longest winning streak to end the season in Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) history. Playing in front of a little over 4,700 fans at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, who gave them a standing ovation at the end of the game, the Sun was able to get their 15th home win of the season. They have one loss at home.

Jones spoke about how they were able to get that 14-game win streak.

“Playing selfless basketball, moving the basketball, hanging our hat on defense and being ready night in and night out. I think this is a product of that and everybody being locked in,” Jones said.

The WNBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) frontrunner collected her 10th rebound in the fourth quarter to complete her league-leading 18th double-double of the season.

Jones dropped seven points in the second quarter to keep away any intent of a comeback that the Dream had planned. The 6’5” player finished the first half with 12 points.

She finished the game shooting 3-for-10 from the field to shoot 30 percent. The forward was also able to go 2-for-6 from three-point territory to shoot 33.3 percent. She went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line. The Grand Bahama native was also able to come away with two blocks. Jones showed off her point guard skills when she dished out four assists.

It was not their best game shooting, but the Sun came away with a whopping 48 rebounds compared to the Dream who had 33 rebounds. The Sun had 17 offensive rebounds. They also were able to move the ball well with 17 assists on 29 made shots.

Leading the way for the Sun was reserve guard Natisha Hiedeman with 16 points. Former Sun, Courtney Williams, led all scorers with 18 points.

Jones won the jump ball to give her team the first possession of the game. The game saw two lead changes. The first one was the Dream taking a 6-5 lead early in the first quarter. The second and final one was by the Sun, when Jones made one of her treys to put her team up 8-6 with 7:31 left in the first quarter. The home team extended that lead to 21-11 at the 2:38 mark as they looked comfortable.

The first quarter ended with the Sun going on a 6-2 run to lead 27-13. The Dream played better in the second quarter as they outscored the Sun 24-19. However, Jones and her Sun still led 44-35 as the Dream was able to cut the lead to single digit.

At the 9:15 mark in the third quarter, the Bahamian splashed a three-pointer from the top of the key to put her team up 49-37. It was her 15th point of the night.

The Sun never let their lead get into single digit for the rest of the game as they cruised to their 26th win of the season.

It was a strong campaign for Jones this season who led her team in points and rebounds. The former George Washington University standout led the entire league with 11.2 rebounds per game and finished fourth overall in the league with 19.4 points per game. She is one of two players who averaged a double-double on the season. The other player is the Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles.

In addition to those season averages, the 2016 WNBA Draft sixth overall pick averaged 1.3 steals per game, and 1.3 blocks per game. She becomes the first player in league history to average 19+ points per game, 11+ rebounds per game, one-plus steal per game and one-plus blocks per game during the regular season.

Bahamians and Jones will know if she is the MVP later this week. She is not the only Sun in the running for individual awards as Brionna Jones is up for Most Improved Player Award, Curt Miller for Coach of the Year Award and Briann January for Defensive Player of the Year Award.

“We are a type of group that focuses on team first and everything else comes after that. Everyone is coming in locked in and played their best. When we do that, we are up for individual awards. Nobody is bigger than the team and we understand that. We know that that is what it takes to be champions and that is what we are going to do going into the playoffs,” Jones said.

For now, she and her team will have nine days’ rest as they have a double-bye in the playoffs thanks to them locking up the first overall seed. They will kick off their postseason campaign next week Tuesday, September 28, in the semifinal. They will know who they are playing once the postseason gets underway on September 23.

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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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