Washington D.C. -- Capital One Arena’s once leaky roof, which delayed a Connecticut Sun vs Washington Mystics duel a month ago, now sheltered two teams guaranteed postseason life. Tonight, it was just about playing for a seed.
“Last time we were ready to play but we got that water leak, so to be back here again we definitely wanted to come out on top tonight,” said the Sun’s Jonquel Jones.
Jones’ stat lined proved she wanted Connecticut to win the game after filling the stat sheet and posting two career highs. She played like it was her last game on this planet.
Connecticut’s starting center came out of the gate with fire in her eyes. As the clock faded away through the first period, Jones had already recorded a career-high of five assists with seven rebounds. And her heat on the floor would keep burning.
“I mean, she’s a monster,” explained teammate Alyssa Thomas. “She could have two or three girls hanging on her arms and she will still find a way to get a rebound so I mean she’s a huge contributor to this team and [we] need her to come to every game with that.”
With an outstanding performance by Jones, the Sun pulled out a 10 point victory, 86-76.
There were only six minutes remaining in the game when Jones worked a play where even Mystics fans couldn’t help but applaud. She snagged rebound number 22, her 384th of the year — the second most in a single season. As if that wasn’t enough history, Jones joined Tina Charles as the only players in WNBA history to have three 20 plus rebound games in one season.
“Well [Assistant] Coach Steve [Smith] was keeping me updated with the rebounds during the game,” said Jones on her hunger to rebound tonight. “So I definitely knew what I had and what I needed to get so that’s definitely a credit to him for keeping me engaged with the stats.”
Some players never have one game being able to grab 20 rebounds and Jones has done it THREE times in only her second season in the league. With such a huge rebounding performance, Jones is now only 14 boards away from tying Charles’ single season rebounding record of 398 — a number she has the potential to surpass in the remaining two regular season games.
After all, Jones leads the league in rebounds per game (12.0 rpg) so if she hits her average she will own the record.
Her rebounds were more impressive, however, that was not her only contribution tonight as Jones scored 14 points — her 19th double-double on the year -- a career-high six assists, plus two blocks.
“We were able to get defensive rebounds and get out and run tonight. That was the key, we were able to run on them,” said Connecticut Head Coach Curt Miller. “Jonquel Jones just had a monster game on the boards. So [I am] really proud. When we moved the ball we were really good tonight.”
Of course, Batman can never save Gotham City alone, he always does his duty with Robin by his side. Thomas wore that honorable cape tonight, scoring a career-high 26 points with 10 rebounds. Her performance on the wood complemented Jones’ work perfectly.
Batman and Robin couldn’t help but walk off the hardwood with a smile, knowing that they secured their squad a top four seed in the playoffs — exactly what they came to the capital city to do.
“Both teams really competed tonight and we’re both going to see that in the playoffs,” noted the WNBA Coach of the Month.
Before the regular season wraps up, Washington host Seattle on Sept. 1st at 7 pm EST and Connecticut visits Phoenix on Sept. 1st at 10 pm EST as both teams continue to play for momentum heading into the playoffs.