Jonquel Jones within reach of WNBA rebound records

JONQUEL JONES

Remember the number 398! Keep in mind also an 11.71 average.

They relate to seasonal rebounding records in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) and Grand Bahama native Jonquel Jones, the sensational center/forward for the Connecticut Sun, is positioned to challenge both milestones.

Tina Charles, as a Connecticut Sun in 2010 averaged 11.71 rebounds per game for the regular season. That same season, Charles set the record for total rebounds with 398.

Following her 15 rebounds/19 points effort on Friday in a Sun 93-92 victory over the Phoenix Mercury, Jones is definitely within reach of Charles’ standards of excellence in rebounding for a season. Jones, going into tonight’s game against the Seattle Storm, is averaging 11.4 in rebounds per game and she has a total of 274.

With 10 more games to go in the season, if she maintains the 11.4 average she will be right around the 398 mark. Down the stretch though, if Coach Curt Miller gives her quality minutes (30 or more) every game, I believe she will up her average and beat Charles’ record total.

The game on Friday cements my view that if Jones consistently plays upwards of 30 minutes per game, she can average over 12 rebounds. The Holmes Rock Community product from West Grand Bahama is regarded as one of the bright young stars of the WNBA and it appears as though she is being fashioned to be a prime marketing tool for the women’s version of the more glorified NBA.

I once asked her about her preferences on court. Of course a victory is the goal always but Jones informed of her strong desire to have a big presence on defense, especially getting rebounds.

“I like getting in there and taking down the rebounds. I still feel I have to improve my game down low to maximize my efforts individually and for the team, but yes, I like to rebound,” she said.

She looks to be the successor to Charles, who is in the winding down years (although still quite good) of a Hall of Fame Career. During the WNBA Verizon All-Star Classic several weeks ago, in one of the highlight interviews, Charles spoke about her delight over the new talent, like Jones.

Charles said she felt good being able to talk to younger players such as Jones and to encourage them and provide some tips about the game. No doubt, Jones has been soaking up all of the advice given by such as Charles.

If she can hold off Charles, who presently plays for the New York Liberty and Sylvia Fowles of the Minnesota Lynx, Jones would win the rebound average title and end up with the highest total for the season, even if she does not get the double record.

Charles presently sits on 230 rebounds for the season while averaging 9.6 per game. Fowles has 219 from two less games (22) than Charles and Jones, and is averaging 10.0.

It’s certainly a career year for the Bahamian. Other than pacing the WNBA in rebounding, Jones is ranked third in three-point scoring average (.462); seventh in field goal average (.538); eighth in blocked shots (1.4); and 15th in scoring at 15.7 per game. She will get MVP votes for sure and should corral the Most Improved Player award.

Thanks to Jones and her high contributions, the Sun team that leads the Eastern Conference of the WNBA at the moment, at 15-9, is headed for the play-off.

Go Jonquel!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at sturrup1504@gmail.com or on WhatsApp at 727-6363.

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