Monday, September 4, 2017
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE team that traded away Jonquel Jones on draft night had a firsthand opportunity to witness the Bahamian forward set WNBA history.
Jones became the league’s all time single season rebounds record holder yesterday in the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Sparks at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
She tracked down a missed jumper from Nneka Ogwumike at the 8:35 mark in the third quarter to corral the record setting board and surpass the previous total of 398.
Jones finished with 10 rebounds to bring the record setting total to 403 for the season. She also added 10 points for her 20th double double of the season.
The Sparks went on to win 81-70 to close out the regular season with a record of 26-8, and the league’s top mark of 16-1 at home.
Jones’ historic season included several milestones, including becoming just the second player in league history to record three 20-rebound games in a single season.
In the season opener on May 13, she finished with eight points and 20 rebounds against the Atlanta Dream and had a 23-point, 21-rebound performance against the Chicago Sky on May 28. She finished with 14 points, a career high 22 rebounds and career high six assists in an 86-76 win over the Washington Mystics just last week.
The New York Liberty’s Tina Charles was the previous record holder with 398 rebounds and was the only other player to record three 20-rebound games in a single season. Charles set the record in 2010 as a rookie with the Sun. In that season, she averaged 15.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game.
Jones finished the year averaging 15.5 points and 11.9 rebounds per game.
She finished with rebounding percentage of 24 per cent which was another record setter as it surpassed Cheryl Ford’s rate of 23 per cent set back in 2006. Jones also became the seventh player to average 11 rebounds in a season. She is also just the seventh player in league history to average atleast 15 points and 11 rebounds in a season.
Jones was selected by the Sparks with the sixth overall pick of the 2016 WNBA Draft, but was sent to the Sun in a draft night trade in exchange for Chelsea Gray and a future first round pick.
She averaged 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds as a rookie last season. She received one vote in the 2016 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year tally to finish in a 5-way tie for fifth behind winner Jantel Lavender.
The Sun finished last season 14-20, 5th in Eastern Conference, just missing the postseason after a dramatic midseason turnaround.
This season, the Sun improved to 21-13 and clinched a top four seed in the playoff standings. It also solidified that they will host a second-round single elimination contest on September 10 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The winner will advance to the best-of-five WNBA semi-finals.
“I had confidence coming into this year that we had a lot of young talent,” Sun general manager/coach Curt Miller said after his team wrapped up a playoff berth. “Knowing there were still some unknown pieces, it may have come a year earlier than I thought.”