It was a season for the Connecticut Sun, where they “shattered expectations” as the season went along. So much, in fact, it earned them their first play-off appearance after being absent the past few years.
This past Sunday, however, their season – in which they improved to a 21-13 mark – came to an end. The Sun suffered their single elimination round defeat to the Phoenix Mercury 88-83.
The Mercury advanced to the semi-finals to take on the Los Angeles Sparks in a best-of-five series.
Jones went on to post a 19-point, 15-rebound double double in the loss. She shot 5-for-13 from the field (38.5%) and sank two of her five attempted three pointers (40%).
Jones had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half, to set a play-off franchise record for rebounds in a half. Alyssa Thomas led the Sun in the scoring department with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
Jones and Thomas got back-up from Jasmine Thomas, who posted 15 points and four assists, while Courtney Williams added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Mercury got major scoring outputs from center Brittney Griner, who registered 26 points to go with nine rebounds. Forward Diana Taurasi gave the Mercury 23 points coupled with four assists. Leilani Mitchell and Monique Currie each added 12 points.
The Sun owned the first half leading by as much as 17 points in the second quarter. The Sun went into halftime ahead of the Mercury 50-33. The eventual winners battled back to make it a two-point, 60-58 game, in favor of the Sun, headed into the fourth quarter.
The Mercury out-scored the Sun 20-15 to ultimately carry them into the next round.
Still, Jones’ quest to this stage of her career did her justice. After a season playing overseas in Korea, Jones was asked to step up big and she did so in a major way. In a season that featured the former George Washington Colonials, Jones secured the single season rebounding record of 403 rebounds, 20 regular season double doubles, registered the 17th 20-20 game in league history and the 20th slam dunk in league history.
Jones was the honored recipient of the 2017 WNBA Most Improved Award.
As a starter in all 34 games, Jones improved her scoring with from 6.8 points per game (ppg)15.4ppg while shooting at a 53.4 percent clip and a 44.6 percent clip from deep. She sat atop of the league in rebounding with an average of 11.9 rebounds per night. She also finished eighth in blocks with 1.5 blocks per contest. She registered 20 double-figure scoring games, twice the number she tallied last year and increased her free throw percentage from 73.9 to 81.8 (135-of-165).
The second-year pro is the third Sun player to earn the honor since it was first presented in 2000.
In honor of being named the WNBA Most Improved Player, Jones received $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany and Co.
Jones received 32 of 40 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Los Angeles Sparks’ guard Chelsea Gray finished second with three votes.
San Antonio Stars’ center Isabelle Harrison and Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley tied for third with two votes each. Washington Mystics’ center Krystal Thomas received one vote.