Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones named WNBA MVP heading into semi-finals

Connecticut heads to the WNBA semifinals on Tuesday not only as the top seed, but also as the team with the league’s MVP in Jonquel Jones, along with coach of the year Curt Miller and most improved player Brionna Jones. .

Forward Jonquel Jones earned the MVP honor with 48 of 49 first-place votes and 487 total points from a national media panel. Phoenix center Brittney Griner finished second with 224 points and got the other first-place vote. Seattle forward Breanna Stewart was third (156), Minnesota center Sylvia Fowles was fourth (137) and Washington center Tina Charles fifth (127). Stewart (2018), Fowles (2017) and Charles (2012) are all MVP winners. The honor marked a steady progression for Jones, who won the WNBA’s Most Improved Award in 2017 and was sixth player of the year in 2018.

Jones, 27, is 6-foot-6 and in his fifth season in the WNBA. She was selected as No. 6 by George Washington in 2016 by Los Angeles and traded to the Sun. He did not play in the WNBA in 2020 when the season was on the bubble in Bradenton, Florida, and the Sun reached the conference semifinals.

With his return in 2021, Connecticut had a league-best 26-6 record. He averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.3 blocked shots and 1.3 steals.

“What is needed [to be] An MVP type player, not just a great player? “said Miller.” It is your ability to continue adding to your game and playing on both sides of the ball. She became more of a tire protector and has long established herself as one of the best reboundering players in the world.

“There’s been a lot written about offense. She has an incredible touch and the ability to play with her back to the basket. But what makes her special is her game away from the basket and her ability to shoot the 3.”

Miller said Jones has also become a facilitator when needed, not just a catch-and-shoot player.

Originally from the Bahamas, Jones will receive $ 15,450 and a trophy from Tiffany & Co. She is the second player to win the MVP while playing for the Sun. Charles, who is now with Washington, was the first.

Meanwhile, Brionna Jones, Miller said, is the perfect example of a player waiting her turn. Jones averaged a double-double as a senior in Maryland, and was selected No. 8 in 2017. During her first three seasons in the WNBA, she averaged less than 10 minutes and four points per game. But when Jonquel Jones did not play in the bubble, Brionna Jones took advantage of her opportunity to get more on the court.

He received 38 of 49 votes from the media panel, with Las Vegas guard Kelsey Plum in second place and Dallas guard Marina Mabrey in third place. Selected by Connecticut in the first round of the 2017 WNBA draft (eighth overall), Jones averaged her career highs of 14.7 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 30.6 minutes.

“What not everyone is capable of doing in this league is being prepared and ready for their opportunity,” Miller said. “He really, really continues to work on his game and his fitness.”

Miller got the nod as top coach for the second time, winning previously in 2017. He got 41 votes out of 49 media panel votes. Minnesota’s Cheryl Reeve was second, and Las Vegas’ Bill Laimbeer and Seattle’s Noelle Quinn tied for third.

“It puts people in great positions to score and feel comfortable,” the Sun’s DeWanna Bonner said of Miller.

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