Connecticut’s Jonquel Jones Named 2017 WNBA Most Improved Player

NEW YORK, Sept. 10, 2017 – Connecticut Sun forward/center Jonquel Jones, who produced a record-setting rebounding season, has been named the 2017 WNBA Most Improved Player, the WNBA announced today.  The second-year pro is the third Sun player to earn the honor since it was first presented in 2000.

Jones received 32 of 40 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.  Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray finished second with three votes.  San Antonio Stars center Isabelle Harrison and Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley tied for third with two votes each.  Washington Mystics center Krystal Thomas received one vote.

The 6-6 Jones set WNBA single-season records for rebounding average (11.9) and total rebounds (403), surpassing the marks established by Tina Charles in 2010.  Jones also set a WNBA single-season standard for total defensive rebounds (280), breaking the record set by Breanna Stewart in 2016.

Connecticut secured its first playoff berth since 2012 as Jones thrived under Head Coach and General Manager Curt Miller, who was honored today with the 2017 WNBA Coach of the Year and WNBA Basketball Executive of the Year awards.  The Sun, which earned the No. 4 seed in the WNBA Playoffs 2017 presented by Verizon, will host a second-round, single-elimination game against the Phoenix Mercury today at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

A starter in all 34 games, Jones raised her scoring average from 6.8 points last season to 15.4 this year and lifted her rebounding average from 3.7 to 11.9.  She registered 20 double-figure scoring games, twice the number she tallied last year.  Jones also improved her three-point field goal percentage from 33.3 to 44.6 (25-of-56) and increased her free throw percentage from 73.9 to 81.8 (135-of-165).

In addition to leading the league in rebounding, the former George Washington University standout tied with Minnesota Lynx center Sylvia Fowles for the top spot in double-doubles with 20, up from two in her rookie season.  She also finished sixth in field goal percentage (.534, 181-of-339).

Jones was a first-round draft pick by Los Angeles in 2016 before being acquired by Connecticut on draft night.  The Bahamas native entered the 2017 season as the player most likely to have a breakout year, according to a vote by WNBA general managers.

In honor of being named the WNBA Most Improved Player, Jones will receive $5,000 and a specially designed trophy from Tiffany & Co.

Below are the voting results for the 2017 WNBA Most Improved Player and a list of past recipients:

 

2017 WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER VOTING RESULTS     

Player                               Team                                            Votes

Jonquel Jones                  Connecticut Sun                          32

Chelsea Gray                        Los Angeles Sparks                              3

Isabelle Harrison                 San Antonio Stars                               2

Allie Quigley                            Chicago Sky                                        2

Krystal Thomas                 Washington Mystics                              1

 

ALL-TIME WNBA MOST IMPROVED PLAYER WINNERS

Points              Player                                     Team

2017                Jonquel Jones                        Connecticut Sun

2016                Elizabeth Williams                  Atlanta Dream

2015                Kelsey Bone                            Connecticut Sun

2014                Skylar Diggins                        Tulsa Shock

2013                Shavonte Zellous                    Indiana Fever

2012                Kristi Toliver                           Los Angeles Sparks

2011                Kia Vaughn                             New York Liberty

2010                Leilani Mitchell                       New York Liberty

2009                Crystal Langhorne                  Washington Mystics

2008                Ebony Hoffman                      Indiana Fever

2007                Janel McCarville                     New York Liberty

2006                Erin Buescher                          Sacramento Monarchs

2005                Nicole Powell                          Sacramento Monarchs

2004                Wendy Palmer/Kelly Miller    Connecticut Sun/Indiana Fever

2003                Michelle Snow                        Houston Comets

2002                Coco Miller                             Washington Mystics

2001                Janeth Arcain                          Houston Comets

2000                Tari Phillips                             New York Liberty

About the WNBA

The WNBA – which features 12 teams and is the most successful women’s professional team sports league in the world – is a unique global sports property combining competition, sportsmanship, and entertainment value with its status as an icon for social change, achievement, and diversity.  The league, which counts Verizon as its leaguewide marquee partner, completed its 21st regular season on Sept. 3, 2017.

Through WNBA Cares, the WNBA is deeply committed to creating programs that improve the quality of life for all people, with a special emphasis on programs that promote a healthy lifestyle and positive body image, increase breast and women’s health awareness, support youth and family development, and focus on education.  For more information on the WNBA, log on to www.wnba.com.