It’s official! Jonquel Jones, the Grand Bahama native out of Holmes Rock, Eight Mile Rock, has been announced the 2021 Kia Women’s National Basketball Association’s (WNBA) Most Valuable Player.
The announcement was made Tuesday, September 28, ahead of the Connecticut Sun’s semifinal contest against the Chicago Sky, set to begin that evening at 8 pm. The 6’6’’ center/power forward, who sat out the 2020 season, returned with renewed fire that proved to be too strong for most to handle around the league. The sterling play propelled her to become the first Bahamian-born professional basketball player to win the award and be recognized as such in any sport.
Prior to the announcement, Jones was also recognized as the Associated Press’ WNBA Player of the Year. The newly minted MVP was the Most Improved Player (MIP) back in 2017, and later won the Sixth Woman of the Year (SWOTY) award in 2018. Jones is the first WNBA Player to win league MVP, MIP, and SWOTY honors.
Jones paced her Sun teammates to a league-leading 26-6 win-loss record, which earned them the number one seed in the playoffs and a double-round bye placing them squarely in the semifinals. She finished with a scoring average of 19.4 points per game, fourth among the league’s scorers, on 51.5 percent shooting from the field; while shooting 36.2 percent from the three-point arch.
For the third time in her career (2017, 2019 and 2021) she finished the season as the league’s rebounding champion, averaging 11.2 rebounds per game. She remained steady on the defensive end and averaged 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks.
According to ESPN Women’s Hoops, “Jones received 48 of 49 first-place votes and 487 total points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner finished in second place with 224 points (one first-place vote).”
Jones was a multi Eastern Conference Player of the Week and Player of the Month throughout the course of the 2021 season and she led the league in double-doubles with a total of 18.
The accolades continued to pile up for the Grand Bahama native, as for the second time, (2019, 2021), Jones was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive First Team, along with her teammate Briann January. The Sun also had their center Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas named to the All-Defensive Second Team.
Running alongside Jones in achieving league-wide recognition was current six-year head coach of the Sun Curt Miller, winning the Coach of the Year Award and Brionna winning the 2021 Most Improved Player Award (14.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg).
The Sun team begins the playoff title push tonight in a best of five series against the Chicago Sky at 8:00 p.m. live on ESPN 2.