Sunday, September 3, 2017

Jonquel Jones WNBA Single-Season Rebound Record

Connecticut Sun Media Team: With 8:50 left in the third quarter on Sunday afternoon at Staples Center, Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones set a new WNBA single-season record, pulling down her 399th rebound off a missed shot by Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogumike.

With that rebound, Jones broke the record of 398 set by Tina Charles when she was a rookie with the Connecticut Sun in 2010.

“I just wanted to come into this game and get into my groove as early as possible when it came to rebounding,” Jones said. “Just being able to say that I’m able to do something like this is really special. Tina Charles did something special and to be in the same category as her it makes me feel really, really good and I’m happy to do it with my teammates.”

A native of the Bahamas who is in her second season after a stellar career at George Washington, Jones began the night needing six rebounds to break the record.

“Pretty incredible for as second-year player to break an all-time record like that,” Sun head coach Curt Miller said of the achievement. “She’s one of the elite rebounders I’ve ever been around. She just had an unbelievable year at the defensive end, and she’s just scratching the surface. Obviously she is going to just keep getting better and better at all aspects of her game, so for her to break a WNBA record in just her second year is truly remarkable and I am really happy for JJ.”

Jones finished the game with 10 rebounds and now has 403 for the 2017 WNBA regular season.

The Sun will be in action next on Sunday, September 10th in the second round of the WNBA Playoffs at 3 p.m. on ESPN2.

See below some photos of Jonquel from this season, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Chicago Sky vs Connecticut Sun August 25, 2017

The Chicago Sky played a very up-tempo game and came away with the 96-83 win over the Connecticut Sun. The Sky played a very balanced game with six players scoring in double digits with 25 assists on 38 field goals made. Courtney Vandersloot dished out 12 assists. She has now had 10 or more assists 11 times this season and seven times in the last eight games for Chicago.

Jessica Breland led all scorers with 15 points, while Adut Bulgak had 14 points, Allie Quigley had 13 points and Stefanie Dolson had 12 points.

For the Sun, Alyssa Thomas recorded her 12th straight game (25th of the season) in double-figure scoring finishing with 14 points and three rebounds. Jonquel Jones recorded her 21st game with 10 or more rebounds (11) in the loss. She has now collected double-figure rebounds in nine of the last 11 games for the Sun.  Courtney Williams posted 11 points and six rebounds. It was her 22nd game scoring in double figures and 16th game of the season with five or more rebounds.  Alex Bentley finished with 11 points and two steals. It was her ninth game of the season with 10 or more points. Brionna Jones scored a career-high nine points on 4-of-7 shooting along with six rebounds and an assist.

After the game, Sky Head Coach Amber Stocks stated: “Our players, our team played very hard, played intense and played together. We had great synchronization with our offensive strategies as well as our defense. We were moving and talking. Cappie (Pondexter) once again had a clutch performance in key moments and when Sloot (Courtney Vandersloot) is distributing the ball the way she does good things happen for us. I thought our inside game was impressive especially with Adut Bulgak coming in and making such a solid impact not only in scoring but in rebounding and she was able to secure some big rebounds for us. Connecticut plays at a very high tempo, they lead the league in scoring and point production, so we know that matching their pace was important. Likewise, we play fast that is part of our style of play too, both of us are in the top of the league in field goal attempts per game. So yes, we wanted to play our style and not only would it be a strength of ours, but it might be able to take advantage of a potential weakness in Connecticut.”

The Sky now travel to New York to take on the Liberty on August 27, while the Sun travel to Washington D.C. to play the Mystics on August 29.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Dallas Wings vs Connecticut Sun August 23, 2017

It was a gritty win for the Connecticut Sun over the Dallas Wings with the Sun playing their fourth game in eleven days. Final score 93-87. With this win the Sun now have 20 wins in a season for the first time since 2012.

Alyssa Thomas finished with a season high 23 points, seven rebounds and five assists. It was her fourth game of the season with 20 or more points, and she has now scored in double figures in 11 straight games (24 on the season).  Jonquel Jones recorded her 18th double-double and 14th straight game of the season scoring in double figures with 20 points and 17 rebounds. Jones has scored in double figures 26 times this year. She also surpassed 300 career defensive rebounds in the win. Shekinna Stricklen was 3-of-6 from three finishing the game with 14 points, and became just the fourth player in franchise history to make 60 or more shots from behind the arc in a single season (62). She has scored in double figures in three straight games (13 times this season), and has now made three or more threes 11 times. Jasmine Thomas scored 17 points with four assists. She has now scored in double figures in four straight games and 23 times overall this season.

All five starters for the Wings scored in double figures. Skylar Diggins-Smith led Dallas with 19 points and six assists. Rookie of the Year contender Allisha Gray had 18 points and two assists. Kayla Thornton scored eight points and grabbed a career-high nine rebounds. Her seven defensive rebounds were a career high as well.

After the game, Connecticut Head Coach Miller stated: “That was gritty. I didn’t know what to expect tonight with Dallas really motivated after the suspension of Glory (Johnson). They have played only one time in the last 11 days and we are playing our fourth game in nine days. Those are the game in the WNBA that you typically do not find a way to the finish line. I felt at time we looked tired and we didn’t move them, we settled. We couldn’t do some of things we wanted to do, but you have to give Dallas credit. That is gritty to win your fourth game in nine days against a team that played once in 11 days. That is a huge win to get to 20 wins. If my math is correct it secures us no worse than fifth, and we are still in the dog fight to try to get into that top four. Exciting win, but we have another quick turn-around to get ready for Chicago.”

It's another quick turnaround for the Sun with their next game on August 25 when they host the Chicago Sky. The Wings now travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Mystics August 26.

See photos from the game  below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Phoenix Mercury vs Connecticut Sun August 20, 2017

Yet again, five Connecticut Sun players scored in double figures in their victory over the Phoenix Mercury. Final score 94-66. With this victory, the Sun can finish no lower than a sixth seed in the WNBA, and have guaranteed a home playoff game. The Sun are now 11-4 at Mohegan Sun Arena for the season.

Alyssa Thomas recorded her fourth double-double of the season, finishing with 17 points, 12 rebounds and five assists. It was her 10th straight game scoring in double figures (22nd of the season) and 18th game with five or more assists. Shekinna Stricklen added to her single-season career-high in threes, finishing with 12 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc. She now has 59 made three-pointers on the season. Jonquel Jones posted her ninth game of the season with 20 or more points as she finished with 20. With six made field goals in the game, Jasmine Thomas set a new single-season career-high with 151 made field goals on the season. She also set a single-season career-high in steals (45). Additionally, Courtney Williams scored 16 points for the Sun.

The Sun grabbed a season-high 37 defensive rebounds in the win, while holding the Mercury to only 21-points in the second half.

For the Mercury, Brittney Griner finished with a team-high 18 points for Phoenix, and Monique Currie finished with 12 points, surpassing the 4,000 career point mark. Currie is now the 34th player in WNBA history to reach this milestone as she finished the game with 4,001 points.

After the game, Connecticut Sun Head Coach stated: “Excited about the bounce-back.  Obviously, disappointed at times with the result of the (previous) New York game. But again, talked about how good that was for us because of how physical they were. So with the exception of a few stretches right from the beginning, and a couple of stretches throughout the 40 minutes, I thought we were the more physical team. I thought we really battled at the point of attack tonight. We got enough stops that turned into transition. Our defense turned into offense tonight and so we got out running and got the game back to where we’re comfortable and really playing uptempo. We just really wanted to attack them.”

The Sun will next face the Dallas Wings on August 23 in Connecticut, while the Mercury will face the Lynx in Minnesota on August 22.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

New York Liberty vs Connecticut Sun August 18, 2017

It was a battle. Sun Coach Curt Miller had said the game focus would be on Toughness and Tempo. Which ever team had better T&T would be the winner. This night it was the New York Liberty who prevailed. The Liberty broke the Sun's 8-game home winning streak with a final score of 70-82.

Tina Charles led all scorers with 24 points, while Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe finished with a career-high twelve points. Sugar Rogers scored 13 points and Bria Hartley had 11.

For the Sun, Jasmine Thomas scored 15 points including her 2,000th WNBA career point. She has scored in double-figures 21 times this season. Jonquel Jones, Alyssa Thomas, and Shekinna Stricklen all scored in double-figures.

After the game, Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller commented: “Disappointed, but that game is so good for us. I can’t begin to tell you how good that game is going to be for us in the long run. Tonight’s game took on a playoff feel and the physicality that we knew was going to be in this games and the intensity from each and every possession in tonight’s game was the best simulation we could possibly have for a playoff game. For our young team to understand the grind that the playoffs are going to be and not the 100 points games that you sometimes get during the regular season. Tonight’s game is going to go a long, long way for us.”

It's a quick turn around for both teams as we head into the final couple of weeks of the season. The Sun will be defending their home court against the Phoenix Mercury on August 20th, and the Liberty play the Minnesota Lynx in New York also on August 20th.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Sunday, August 13, 2017

Dallas Wings vs Connecticut Sun August 12, 2017

It was another night of fun, high-scoring, team basketball. As Ben York wrote, If you "Love basketball? Then you should love the Sun." All Connecticut starters finished in double figures beating the Dallas Wings 96-88; the eighth straight home victory. Alyssa Thomas led Connecticut in scoring with her third double-double of the season. The forward finished with 21 points and took down a career high13 defensive rebounds. Jonquel Jones finished with her 16th double-double of the season and her sixth straight. The center collected 19 points and 16 rebounds against the Wings while matching a career high with five blocked shots.

The victory over Dallas, combined with Atlanta’s 84-68 loss in San Antonio clinched a playoff berth for the Connecticut Sun. The last time the Sun were in the playoffs was in 2012.

For the Wings, Glory Johnson finished with her fourth straight and 12th double-double of the season.That is the most double-doubles she has had with the Wings, and the four straight is one shy of her career high. She had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Rookie Allisha Gray finished with a career high of 21 points. Skylar Diggins-Smith had 17 points, and was a perfect 10 of 10 from the free throw line. She also led the team with five assists.

After the game, Sun Head Coach Curt Miller commented: “I thought this game was going to come down to toughness. Certainly that was the word in our preparation. I have great respect for Dallas. I think they’re unbelievably athletic, unbelievably talented. And I personally think they are truly one of the dangerous teams in this league. And in the playoffs, I don’t think anyone would want to face them."  Regarding making the playoffs: “The locker room certainly has bigger goals so now we’ll fight for position and a very, very important potential bye. For the four teams that get byes in the first round. Ultimately, as my GM half, I want to try and create something that has sustained success and everywhere I’ve been as a head coach, that has been a big part of that plan. This was just step one and I hope we have the opportunity to be in the playoffs every year.”

The 17-9 Sun now travel to Atlanta to face the Dream on August 15th, while the 13-16 Wings play the Atlanta Dream at home on August 19th.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Seattle Storm vs Connecticut Sun August 8, 2017

It was another thrilling win for the Connecticut Sun. Jonquel Jones stated "Coming out for the fourth (quarter) we said this is one that mattered. We could lose all the rest but this was the one that mattered." And that is exactly what the Sun focused on. In the final quarter they outscored the Seattle Storm 33-9, leading to victory. Final score Sun 84, Storm 71.

Courtney Williams led all scorers with a career high 27 points - 15 of which came in the fourth quarter alone. This was Williams' fourth straight game scoring in double figures, and third game with 20 or more points this season.

After the game, Sun Coach Curt Miller stated: “Truly exciting fourth quarter for us tonight. I’m more proud, not of the W, but we stuck together. We didn’t play great basketball, missed a lot of shots we’re capable of making. Seattle really took it to us the first 30 minutes but our game plan was simple, that we just wanted to keep attacking, keep the game up tempo, and we thought, in this league, it is really difficult to play three road games in five days and maybe we can get to their legs if we just kept attacking. It didn’t look like we were going to get to them for 30 minutes, but all of a sudden it turned and you could see, hopefully it was some of what we did, but you could see what happens in three road games in five days, they lost their legs a little bit, they missed some of the shots that they’re capable of making and it gave us momentum. The other aspect is, during our run we did it with four second-year players on the floor together and (Shekinna) Stricklen, who had an unbelievable night defensively for us. So, really exciting for the future that we made that run with 4 second-year players on the floor, gave us the momentum that we needed and we came back with a more refreshed AT (Alyssa Thomas) and got Alex (Bentley) in there late and did some nice stuff defensively late. So, huge win, great fourth quarter, fans stayed with us, and we really stuck together even though we didn’t play great basketball for the majority of the game.”

The Connecticut Sun remain third in the overall WNBA standings with a current record of 16-9. The Sun face the Dallas Wings on August 12th at home, while the Storm travel to Phoenix to take on the Mercury on August 12th.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Phoenix Mercury vs Connecticut Sun August 4, 2017

"A gritty win." is how Connecticut Sun Head Coach Curt Miller described the 93-92 win over the Phoenix Mercury. At the half, the Sun were up by 12 points, but the Mercury came back in the second half for a dramatic finish.

The Sun continued to play "team basketball" with six players scoring in double figures. Jonquel Jones had 19 points and 15 rebounds. It was her fourth straight double-double and her 14th of the season. Alex Bentley had a season-high 16 points, including 14 in the second half.  Her layup with 18.2 seconds left in the game gave the Sun their final lead, 91-89. Alyssa Thomas scored 18 points and Jasmine Thomas scored 15 points.

For the Mercury, Diana Taurasi at times seemed unstoppable finishing with 33 points, the most points she's ever scored in Connecticut. It was her fourteenth 30+ point game of the season.

After the game, Sun Head Coach Curt Miller commented “Could have easily chalked that one up in the loss column considering what we went through, but the team stayed together. I didn’t sub Alex (Bentley) out the entire second half, and while she missed some shots I know she is capable of making, she made a big one down the stretch for us. Frankly, I thought she did a pretty good job on Diana considering all of the shots that she was making. Gritty, gritty win, big win for us, and in the grand scheme of things the goal is making the playoffs.”

Next up for the Sun, they will host the Seattle Storm on August 8th. The Mercury travel to Washington D.C. to take on the Mystics on August 6th.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Indiana Fever vs Connecticut Sun July 30, 2017

For the Sun, all players scored with five players scoring in double figures. Additionally, the Sun had 24 assists, the tenth time they had 20 or more assists in a game. All these things sound familiar as the team worked together to defeat the Indiana Fever 89-73 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

For the Sun, Jasmine Thomas led all scorers with 15 points while Alyssa Thomas and Jonquel Jones each scored 14 points. Alex Bentley scored 11 points, and Courtney Williams 10 points in the victory.

For the Fever, Erica Wheeler and Jazmon Gwathmey each scored 13 points. Marissa Coleman scored her 2000th WNBA career point during the game.

After the game, Connecticut Sun Head Coach stated: “Excited with the way we played the first three quarters especially. ...Their attention to detail on our game plan and schemes on both sides of the ball was really impressive. We ran, we turned them over more than most people do, and got the running game going when they started to miss a few shots. The big key was keeping them out of the paint. We kept them out of the paint - in the first half, the discrepancy of points in the paint between the two teams at halftime was large. Couldn’t be more proud of the way we played. Now in the fourth quarter, disappointed with our execution with a low scoring quarter. We lost some focus with the big lead. You never want to have to put starters back in in that situation, but we just needed to calm down for a minute or two and get to the finish line. Good win, series clincher. That does a lot for us in the grand scheme of things. If Indiana makes a run, now we hold the tiebreaker and that’s important. Overall, for three quarters, really, really good basketball.”

The Sun play the Phoenix Mercury next at home on August 4th, while the Fever host the Chicago Sky on the same day.

See photos from the game below, or visit the gallery here for full-size images.

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