Wednesday, July 12, 2017
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Jonquel Jones continues to make Bahamian basketball history with each passing milestone.
The second-year forward was one of 10 players selected by fans, current players and a select media panel as a starter for the 2017 WNBA All-Star game presented by Verizon.
The lineups for the 14th edition of the WNBA midseason showcase were announced yesterday on ESPN's SportsCenter: Coast to Coast. The All-Star reserves, who will be selected by the WNBA's 12 head coaches, will be announced on Tuesday, July 18.
The WNBA All-Star game is scheduled for July 22 in the Key Arena, home of the Seattle Storm.
Grand Bahamian Jones is averaging 15.9 points, a league-leading 11.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 29 minutes per game. The 6'6", 190-pound forward is also shooting 54 per cent from the field and 48 per cent from three-point range.
The fan vote accounted for 50 per cent of the vote to determine the starters while current players and a media panel accounted for 25 per cent each. Fans cast 604,680 votes, more than double the number in 2015 (280,670).
Votes were tallied for a net total and players were ranked by position (three frontcourt, two backcourt) within their respective conferences by each of the three aforementioned groups.
The weighted scores were calculated by averaging the weighted rank from the voters and the best scorers were named starters. Jones finished with a weighted score of 3.0 among Eastern Conference frontcourt players with the third most votes from each of the three voting groups.
Jones is joined in the starting lineup by fellow Sun teammate Jasmine Thomas and Tiffany Hayes of the Atlanta Dream to comprise the backcourt. The frontcourt includes a pair of former WNBA MVPs Tina Charles of the New York Liberty and Elena Delle Donne of the Washington Mystics.
The Westerm Conference starters include the Seattle Storm's Sue Bird and the Phoenix Mercury's Diana Turasi in the backcourt with a frontcourt of Candace Parker of the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx teammates Maya Moore and Sylvia Fowles.
Minnesota's Cheryl Reeve will serve as the West head coach and New York's Bill Laimbeer will guide the East after the Lynx and Liberty finished with the best regular-season records in their respective conferences in 2016.
As a rookie, Jones appeared in 34 games with six starts and averaged 6.8 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 14 minutes per game. Prior to the season, a panel of WNBA general managers voted Jones as the player most likely to have a breakout year. Through 17 games she has shown vast improvements in her numbers across the board from her rookie season.
Jones opened this season primed for a breakout year and grabbed a then career-high 20 rebounds in the Sun's 81-74 loss to the Atlanta Dream. Jones' rebound total was the most by a Sun player since Charles grabbed 22 boards back in 2012. Jones finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds - both game highs - in the Sun's 81-79 loss to the Indiana Fever the following weekend.
On May 28, she posted another historic performance when she went off for 23 points and 21 rebounds. She became just the third player in league history, joining Charles and Fowles, to have multiple 20-rebound games in the same season. At her current rebounding rate, Jones is on pace to surpass Charles' total rebound record of 398, set in 2010.