Jonquel Jones had a monster night scoring a game-high 27 points and pulling down 13 boards to power her team to a dominating 94-68 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks to take a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five WNBA semifinal series at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, on Thursday night.
With that win the Sun are now only one win away from heading to the 2019 WNBA Finals.
Jones’ 27 points came from a blistering 55 percent shooting from the field, going 11-of-20. She connected on three of her four attempts at the charity stripe.
The Grand Bahama native was busy on the offensive glass as she grabbed a game-high seven offensive rebounds. She showed why she was this season’s league leader in the rebounds category.
The center had a huge task as she guarded perennial Sparks’ center Candace Parker who was held to only three points and one rebound in 26 minutes of play.
Jones was a workhorse as she played a game-high 37 minutes.
Sun’s power forward Alyssa Thomas also had a double-double in the win as she chipped in with 12 points and 13 rebounds – tying Jones in that category.
Courtney Williams, the Sun’s guard, was unstoppable on offense as she scored 25 points.
For the Sparks, power forward Nneka Ogwumike scored a team-high 18 points and had one blocked shot.
The Sparks got off to a great start as they went up 16-6 on the Sun with 5:08 remaining in the first quarter. They went up 22-15 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Sparks started off on a 4-0 run as they went up 26-15 on a Chelsea Gray layup with 8:42 remaining.
Jones tied the game at 31-31 on a cutting layup with 4:33 remaining in the second quarter. The game continued with the Sparks avoiding giving up the lead and the Sun kept knocking at their door.
With 1:57 remaining, Jones put back one of her offensive rebounds to give her team a 39-38 lead with 1:07 remaining in the first half.
At the intermission, the Sun led 41-40. The Sun had 29 rebounds at this point to break the WNBA playoff mark for a half.
It was a different tale in the second half. Jones hit 1-of-2 free throws as she gave the Sun its first double digit lead 59-49 with 3:40 remaining. She had 21 points at this point of the game.
The game was out of reach as the Sun led 70-57 heading into the final quarter. Williams scored 13 of her total points in that quarter.
In the fourth quarter, the Sun turned up their defense. They held the Sparks to 11 points in that quarter as they scored 24 points.
The game ended 94-68 as they took a convincing 2-0 series lead. The Sun out-rebounded the Sparks 46-24.
It was a tough night for the Sparks as the Sun scored 10 three-pointers to their four three-pointers.
In the other semifinal, the Washington Mystics led the Las Vegas Aces 2-0 after winning 103-91 on Thursday night.
Both series are set to continue on Sunday when the Mystics and Aces play at 5 p.m. After that game, the Jones and Parker face each other at 7 p.m. The games will be televised live on ESPN 2.