Jonquel Jones’ record setting performance propels Sun to 99-87 victory

Jones’ record setting night helped the Sun even the series

WASHINGTON — “We talked about it, so we’ll see,” Jonquel Jones told High Post Hoops Monday after practice.

Everyone certainly did see on Tuesday night as the Connecticut Sun defeated the Washington Mystics 99-87 to even the series, 1-1.

Jones may have missed her first two shots, but she kept shooting. And it worked. Shot after shot began falling and the misses did not deter her from shooting time and time again.

She made 7 of her 13 first-half shots, good for 18 points. She casually added 10 rebounds and 2 blocks because that’s what she does.

However, you would not be able to recognize what an impressive half she had by the understated way she talked about it.

“It felt good,” Jones told High Post Hoops. “I felt like there was a couple of shots that I could’ve I think made. But at the end of the day, you know, no one plays a perfect game, but it felt pretty good.”

After taking just eight shots in Game 1 on Sunday, Jones nearly matched that with seven in the first quarter of Game 2 alone.

Head coach Curt Miller said, “I don’t think we were shy talking about we had to play through JJ more. Was that going to be shots? But at least touches, and it started right from the beginning.”

That was the message Jones took into the game as well.

“An emphasis to make sure that I got some touches, the emphasis for me personally, to just be more aggressive, and just not set up the stuff. Obviously, to go after the offensive boards,” Jones said.

And go after the offensive boards she did.

Jones finished the game with 32 points, a career-high, 18 rebounds (9 offensive), and 3 blocks. She finished 13-for-24 from the floor including 3-7 from behind the arc.

10 of those points came in the final quarter when the Mystics pulled within a single possession multiple times.

“It was just the motivation to win, this is the championship. it’s the biggest stage and we want to step up and play hard,” Jones said about what asked about sparked her push in the final quarter.

Miller added, “She went and created a lot of her own offense, even when we weren’t playing through her, and that was just huge for us for second opportunities.”

Jones’ ability to create her own offense stemmed in part from her record-breaking stat line.

She became the first player in WNBA playoff history with 32 points and 18 rebounds in a game and set the new record for most offensive rebounds in WNBA Finals history (9).

Her rebound total was second-most in a WNBA Finals game and her point total is the most in a Finals game since Oct. 5, 2011, when Angel McCoughtry had 38 points and Seimone Augustus had 36.

The absence of Elena Delle Donne, who played less than four minutes before exiting the game with back spasms, may have played a role in Jones’ success, though Jones certainly played as though she had something to prove even before Delle Donne’s exit.

The Mystics could not find a way to defend Jones in Delle Donne’s absence. Emma Meesseman said, “We just have to play, try to stop her as a team. You know, she’s a strong player. We just have to get going. Like I said, just be aggressive and very physical.”

Shortly after Game 2 ended, the Mystics had already begun to game out just how to do that.

“We gotta keep her off the boards, first thing,” Tianna Hawkins said. “She got a lot of O-boards against us. We just gotta try to limit her touches and just be more aggressive with her.”

Regardless of who defended her, Jones’ performance was no surprise for her teammates.

“Oh man, it’s big,” Shekinna Stricklen said almost in disbelief. “Her and AT [Alyssa Thomas], they killed it on the offensive boards which was really big. Man. It was amazing. J played really, really well.”

“We believe in her, probably more than she believes in herself,” said Bria Holmes. “But you know, she came out aggressive on the boards, offensive rebounding, attacking, you know that’s what she does and we’re proud of her.”

The Sun needed a big game from Jonquel Jones. Thanks to getting one of the biggest games in WNBA history, they’re now in a position to win a championship by winning a pair of home games.

Love our 24/7 women’s basketball coverage? Join our Patreon now and support this work, while getting extra goodies and subscriber-only content for yourself.