Despite Washington’s Game 1 win, a confident Sun
WASHINGTON — No, Courtney Williams doesn’t remember a time when she didn’t believe she was the best player on the court.
“It’s not really a point of time in my life where I went, ‘Oh, I’m looking at it like this.’,” Williams said during media availability following Sun practice on Monday. “I’ve always been built like this.”
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It’s the kind of confidence that’s helped lift the Sun to the WNBA Finals, but it is necessary to transfer that belief across her team — most notably, to teammate Jonquel Jones.
All season long, Williams has charged herself with getting Jones into a frame of mind that allows her to dominate. And she said it was no different after Sunday’s game, one in which Jones got just eight shots all afternoon.
But a confident Jones sounded ready to make Game 2 look different than Game 1, her determination palpable even if the verbiage was more subdued than her 5’8 teammate.
She chuckled slightly as she talked about Sun coach Curt Miller’s propensity for watching film with his team — two hours, she estimated it. And she said one thing kept coming up.
“One-on-one defense, one-on-one defense,” Jones said, explaining her focus in the tunnel just beyond the court. “That’s the overarching theme right now.”
But as to how she goes about getting the ball more — always a tug-of-war between a big making herself more assertive and her guards feeding her — Jones didn’t seem particularly concerned about that adjustment happening.
“We talked about it, that’s all I’ll say,” Jones said with another laugh. “I felt confident, when I caught the ball, with what I was able to do out there. It’s never a matter of lack of confidence, I’ll say that.”
As a reminder: Jonquel Jones, through four seasons, has the fourth-best true shooting percentage in the history of the WNBA. So this is no small thing, getting the offense to run through her. The Sun have many effective weapons. But Jones is first among them, statistically.
For his part, Mystics coach Mike Thibault expressed the belief that his team’s defense deserved credit for some of the dip in Jones’ production in Game 1.
“I know they’re talking about getting JJ more touches, but we made her work yesterday, too,” he said, standing at midcourt Monday.
Jones averaged 16.3 points per game against the Mystics during the regular season, getting 12.2 shots per game over three contests. Part of that came from three offensive rebounds per game, while on Sunday, she had zero.
But on Monday, she sounded ready to come closer, if not surpass those numbers. She did score 24 against the Mystics on June 11. Not coincidentally, the Sun won.
“I mean, I feel like when I catch the ball, I do good things,” Jones said. “I’m not going to stand here and say I don’t want it or nothing like that. We talked about it, so you’ll see.”
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