After playing the underdog role for the majority of last season, expectations are high for Jonquel Jones and the Connecticut Sun this year.
Jones put the league on notice last year, breaking the single-season rebounding record and leading the Sun to its first playoff appearance in five years. The Sun finished 21-13, second in the Eastern Conference and fourth in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
“We played the entire year with no pressure,” said Sun coach Curt Miller at the team’s media day event yesterday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
“Now we have got to embrace expectations and understand that there’s a bigger bulls-eye on our back.”
Jones was the sole scorer in the post last year for the Sun, but she’s expected to have a lot of help this season, as the team welcomes back Chiney Oguwmike, who missed last season with an Achilles’ tendon injury.
Sophomore standout Morgan Tuck – who played a big role for the team – will also be returning, creating a formidable front line.
In the last offseason, Jones played overseas again to try and improve her game ahead of the upcoming WNBA season. She said she is hoping to improve or at least duplicate her efforts to ensure that the Sun is a contender at the end of the year.
“I just want to do some of the things I did well last year like rebounding the ball, something that I’m known for in the league,” Jones said.
“Plus, I want to do more scoring. I was around 15 points per game. I think I can be around the top 5-7 players in the league in scoring.
“That is something that I want to do this year. I also want to be able to hit the jumper from behind the three-point line, and be more consistent from the free throw line and driving to the basket too.”
The Sun will play three exhibition games before its 16th season begins on May 20 at home against Las Vegas.