Jones, Liberty advance to Commissioner’s Cup final

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Simba FrenchSend an emailJuly 14, 2023 27 2 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Indiana Fever forward Aliyah Boston (7) drives on New York Liberty forward Jonquel Jones (35) in the first half of a WNBA basketball game in Indianapolis, Wednesday, July 12, 2023. AP

Bahamian women’s professional basketball player Jonquel “JJ” Jones scored 12 points to help the New York Liberty clinch its first Commissioner’s Cup championship appearance as they scored a 95-87 overtime win over the Indiana Fever on Wednesday.

Two days after celebrating The Bahamas’ 50th independence at the Empire State Building in Manhattan, New York, Jones was with her team as they were on the road at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. She grabbed seven rebounds in 21 minutes on the floor to help her team pull off the win. The Liberty head into the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) All-Star Break with a 14-4 win/loss record. They are tied for their best 18-game start in franchise history. They also head into the break with the second best record in the league and on a four-game winning streak.

In the Commissioner’s Cup final, the Liberty will take on the league’s best Las Vegas Aces at the Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 15.

On Wednesday, Jones made five of her eight attempts from the field, shooting 62.5 percent. She went 2-for-3 from deep and was able to get a steal and a block each. The Grand Bahama native did most of her offensive work in the second half and overtime, scoring nine points including two points in a 15-7 overtime 

advantage by the Liberty.

After the Liberty went up 70-53 with 9:30 left in the fourth quarter, the Fever chipped away at the lead, bringing it to single digits with 3:37 left in the game. The Liberty led 74-66 at that point. With six seconds left in the game, the Liberty went up 80-77, but the Fever’s Aliyah Boston, the number one overall pick in this year’s WNBA Draft, connected on a three-point shot as time expired to send the game into overtime. The Fever outscored the Liberty, 27-12, in the fourth quarter to pull even at the end of regulation.

It was all Liberty in overtime as Sabrina Ionescu scored eight in the extra session to outscore the Fever by herself. She led all scorers with 35 points in the game, helping the Liberty reach the all-star break on a winning note.

Boston led the Fever with 23 points in the loss.

Jones did not make the all-star team for the first time since 2018. The 2017 WNBA Most Improved Player, 2018 WNBA Sixth Woman of the Year and 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) is averaging 10.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, improving her play as the season goes along.

Jones is averaging her lowest minutes on the floor since 2018 at 22.6 minutes per game. The center is shooting at a 53.6 percent clip but shooting almost three shots less per game than last season.

Jones and Liberty return to action against the Dallas Wings on Wednesday, July 19 at home at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. That game gets underway at 1 p.m.

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