In her second game back with the Connecticut Sun on Thursday, Jonquel Jones looked more like the player that was voted most improved in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Jones had 17 points and five rebounds in a 102-94 win over the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Sun were led by Chiney Ogwumike, who missed all of last season with an injury, with 18 points.
The Sun started the fourth on a 10-0 scoring run, capped by a three from Alyssa Thomas that put Connecticut ahead 75-74.
The Sparks led by four (86-82) with 4:49 remaining but went the next four minutes without a field goal. The Sun made four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds to seal the game. Alyssa Thomas had 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Jasmine Thomas scored 13 points and eight assists.
Jones missed all of training camp and all off the Sun’s preseason games and returned to the team just ahead of its opener against the Las Vegas Aces on Sunday. According to Sun coach Curt Miller, he knows the 6’6” center will have to work her way into playing shape as the season progresses.
“She’s going to have to shake the rust off,” Miller said.
“A 19-day training camp that she missed nearly all of, it will affect her, but I can’t tell you how excited we are to have her back.”
Jones, who set a new single season rebounding record last year, said she’s looking to push the Sun deep into the playoffs this year.
“It’s just great being back around everyone,” Jones said.
“We all went different places in the offseason, and right now we are as strong as we have ever been. This year I’m putting a lot of trust in my teammates. Our chemistry is almost the best in the league.
“We just have to understand who we are as a team, play with an identity and just keep that chip on our shoulder.”