Eyes on the prize


Tribune Sports Reporter


In the midst of a heated WNBA Finals series, Jonquel Jones added to her career résumé with more league-wide recognition for her stellar season.

Jones was named to the All-WNBA Second Team when the league announced its list of awardees on Sunday.

Jones spoke with the media yesterday following the Sun’s final practice session for the year at Mohegan Sun Arena.

“Just come out ready to play. I don’t think it’s a lack of effort. I think it’s just things not going our way and us not being able to bounce back quickly enough,” she said. “We have to execute. I think there were a lot of things that we’re used to doing that we just didn’t do as well. We weren’t on the same page with some of our sets and it showed out there. It’s just us being better and coming out ready to play.”

Jones is averaging 17.7 points and 11 rebounds per game through three contests in the series.

Sun head coach Curt Miller has said the team has been plagued by slow starts, something they can ill afford tonight facing elimination.

“It reminded us a little bit of Game 1. The first quarters have been the difference. We dug ourselves a hole again in the first quarter. We left some points out there by some missed layups. They got hot from the three-point line. They’re really tough to beat when they shoot the ball consistently from the three-point line. But we did that in Game 2.

“So again, I think everybody’s antennas are up for what the first quarter is going to look like in Game 4.”

Jones led the league in rebounds with 9.7 boards and blocked shots at a career high 2.0 per game. She also finished fourth in defensive rebounds with 6.4 per game. This season, Jones grabbed 10 or more rebounds 16 times, including a season high 22 rebounds on May 31.

She finished the regular season with starts in all 34 appearances averaged 14.6 points and posted career highs in steals (1.5 per game) and minutes played (28.8 per game). Jones won her second rebounding title in four seasons. She acquired 150 points in the voting process.

In honour of their accomplishments, each member of the All-WNBA First Team will receive $10,000 and each member of the Second Team will receive $5,000.

The remainder of the All-WNBA Second Team consists of Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (146), Las Vegas Aces centre Liz Cambage (65), Sky guard Diamond DeShields (54) and Minnesota Lynx guard Odyssey Sims (48).

The All-WNBA First Team included Washington Mystics forward, league MVP and unanimous selection, Elena Delle Donne (215 points), Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot (197), Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner (191), Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray (175) and Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard (158).

Voting for the All-WNBA First and Second Teams was conducted at the conclusion of the regular season. Players were selected by position and received five points for each First Team vote and three points for each Second Team vote. If a player received votes at multiple positions, she was slotted at the position where she received the most votes.

It adds another postseason honour for Jones who was also selected to the WNBA All-Defensive Team for the first time.

She finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting system with 42 points to earn her spot on the first team.

The remainder of the first team included Seattle Storm forward Natasha Howard (55), Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike (36), Sun guard Jasmine Thomas (36) and Storm guard Jordin Canada (34).

The WNBA’s 12 head coaches selected the All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position and were not permitted to vote for players from their own teams.

Jones received six votes for the First Team and four for the Second Team.

The Mystics tied a WNBA Finals record for most three pointers made in a game with 16 to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series Sunday afternoon.

Game four is set for 8pm tonight as the Sun face elimination.