Tuesday, September 5, 2017
By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
Social media erupted with praise for Jonquel Jones and several WNBA icons joined in celebrating her achievement as she became the single season rebounds record holder.
Jones finished the season with 403 rebounds to surpass the mark of 398 set by Tina Charles in 2010. Charles was one of the first to take to Twitter and congratulate the second year Bahamian forward.
“If anyone should break it, glad it’s this young phenom,” Charles tweeted in reference to Jones.
“Thanks Tina, being mentioned with you is an honour within itself. You’re a great basketball player but an even better person,” Jones tweeted in response.
Heading into this season, Jones got the opportunity for increased playing time when incumbent starter Chiney Ogwumike suffered an Achilles injury and was ruled out for the entire 2017 season.
“Congrats to my forever rook and shining star for breaking the WNBA single season rebounding record! First of many to come... #ORTHEA” Ogwumike tweeted.
Orthea is the name of a character played by Jones in the Sun’s ad campaign to petition the public to vote several of their players into the WNBA All-Star Game.
In leading the Sun to their first playoff berth in five years, Jones averaged 15.4 points and 11.9 rebounds per game on her record-setting pace.
Needing just six rebounds in the regular season finale against the Los Angeles Sparks, Jones finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds Sunday afternoon for her 20th double double of the season.
“I just wanted to come into this game and get into my groove as early as possible when it came to rebounding,” Jones said.
“Just being able to say that I’m able to do something like this is really special. Tina Charles did something special and to be in the same category as her, it makes me feel really, really good and I’m happy to do it with my teammates.”
Jonathan Tsipis, head women’s basketball coach for the Wisconsin Badgers, coached Jones during his tenure at George Washington University.
“First she led the NCAA, now the WNBA. It was an honour to coach her but to know [Jonquel] is a greater thrill! Congrats J!” Tspisis said.
“Pretty incredible for a second-year player to break an all-time record like that,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said of the achievement.
“She’s one of the elite rebounders I’ve ever been around. She just had an unbelievable year at the defensive end, and she’s just scratching the surface. Obviously, she is going to just keep getting better and better at all aspects of her game, so for her to break a WNBA record in just her second year is truly remarkable and I am really happy for JJ.”
In addition to Jones’ record-breaking feat, several other WNBA players also achieved career milestones this season.
The Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird became the WNBA’s All-Time assist leader with 2,610 to pass former Sacramento Monarch Ticha Penicheiro.
And the Chicago Sky’s Courtney Vandersloot finished the season with 8.1 assists per game to surpass Penicheiro’s previous record of 8.0 assists per game for the highest single-season assists average in league history.