Bahamian women’s professional basketball player Jonquel ‘JJ’ Jones and the Connecticut Sun ended the regular season on a strong note on Sunday, taking down the Minnesota Lynx, 90-83, at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Jones and the Sun will enter the playoffs as the third seed, one year after winning the pennant. They ended the regular season with a 25-11 win/loss record, finishing as number two in the east behind the defending champions Chicago Sky and number three overall.
The Sun have finished in the top three in the Eastern Conference in each of the last six seasons and will once again enter the postseason as one of the favorites to win it all. They will host the Dallas Wings in game one of a best-of-three first round series on Thursday.
On Sunday, Jones scored in double figures for the seventh straight time, finishing with 12 points and adding six rebounds. The Bahamian post player ended the season averaging 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, significantly down from her Most Valuable Player (MVP) numbers of 19.4 points and 11.2 rebounds from a year ago, but she has led the Sun to the playoffs for a sixth straight year and to 25 wins in a season for the second straight year and fifth time in club history.
Jones and the Sun have their sights set on a WNBA title – looking to win their first in franchise history.
As for the Lynx, they were eliminated from playoff contention with the loss to the Sun on Sunday. They ended the season with a 14-22 record and will miss the playoffs for the first time in the last 12 seasons.
WNBA legend Sylvia Fowles, the 2017 league MVP and four-time defensive player of the year, closed out her career with her league-best 192 career double-double. She had 10 points and 12 rebounds in the loss for the Lynx.
Fowles is the only player to lead two franchises (Minnesota and Chicago) in career rebounding and she is the only WNBA player to reach 4,000 career rebounds. She checked out of the game for the last time with 43.2 seconds remaining to a long standing ovation, and hugged her coaches and teammates.
The winner of the playoffs series between the Sun and the Wings will play the winner of the series between the second-seeded Chicago Sky and the New York Liberty in the WNBA Semifinals.
As for the game on Sunday, the Sun were led by 16 points from Alyssa Thomas. They also got 15 apiece from Natisha Hiedeman and Brionna Jones to help them rack up their third straight win, fifth in their last six games and ninth in their last 11.
After Jones gave the Sun a 6-5 lead in the first quarter with a turnaround jump shot, they never looked back. They went on to lead by as many as 19 points before taking their foot off the gas pedal a little in the fourth quarter. The Lynx closed a 19-point fourth quarter lead to four points at one point, but the Sun responded as they ended the game with some clutch shots and free throws to seal the win.
Jones had a huge putback layup with 1:03 left on the clock to give the Sun an 88-81 lead. The Lynx got no closer the rest of the way.
Lindsay Allen, who entered the game with a scoring average of 4.3 points per game, made six of seven three-pointers and led the Lynx with 26 points on Sunday. She added six assists. Aerial Powers had 22 points and eight rebounds. Fowles was the only other player in double figures for them.