The WNBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams were announced today by the league office. Of the 10 selected, four Connecticut Sun players received the honor. Jonquel Jones and Briann January were named to the All-Defensive First Team while Jasmine Thomas and Brionna Jones received second team honors. The recipients were selected by a 49-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.
January and J. Jones, were named alongside Brianna Turner, Sylvia Fowles and Brittney Sykes. In addition to Thomas and B. Jones the second team included Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner and Ariel Atkins.
As a team, Connecticut held their opponents to less than 70 points in a total of 18 contests and had the number one overall defensive rating (91.7). Additionally, all five of the Sun’s starters, including DeWanna Bonner, held the top five spots in individual defensive win shares.
For the second time in her career, J. Jones was named to the WNBA All-Defensive First Team (2019, 2021). The 6-6 forward, has established herself as one of the most dominate rebounders in the league. Most recently, she received her third WNBA Peak Performer award for rebounding. She finished the 2021 regular season averaging a league-best 11.2 rebounds per game, as well as 8.7 defensive rebounds per game, also first in the WNBA. In 27 games, she pulled down 10+ rebounds in 19 contests and grabbed 10+ defensive rebounds in 10 contests.
Jones also averaged a team-high 1.3 blocks per game and sat second amongst the Sun in steals per game (1.3). Her 1.3 blocks per game placed her within the top 10 in the league while her 1.3 steals placed her within the top 15. Jones finished the season fourth in the league in points per game, averaging 19.4.
January, who is currently in her 13th year in the league, received first team honors for the fifth time (’12, ’14, ’15, ’16, ’21). She also earned second team recognition twice (2013, 2017) for a total of seven defensive team awards. In her second year with the Connecticut Sun, January averaged 30.2 minutes per game and guarded some of the league’s most prolific guards. She averaged 1.4 rebounds per game, 1.1 defensive rebounds per game and .9 steals per game. One of January’s defensive highlights of the season included helping the Sun hold Arike Ogunbowale to just eight points in the team’s 83-56 victory on Sept. 7. Prior to the contest, Ogunbowale had held the longest active WNBA double-digit scoring streak at 65.
Connecticut Sun point guard and captain, Thomas finds herself on the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team for the second time in her career (2016, 2021). This is her fifth time being named to one of the defensive teams after being selected to the All-Defensive First Team three straight years (2017, 2018. 2019). For the 2021 season, Thomas averaged 2.4 rebounds per game, 2.0 defensive rebounds per game and 1.3 steals per game.
B. Jones received the first WNBA All-Defensive Team award of her career. In her fifth year, she recorded a career high 7.3 rebounds per game, 4.2 defensive boards per game, a team-high 1.4 steals per game and .5 blocks per game. Jones held a defensive rating of 90 and a top five win share percentage of .220. The most improved player candidate also averaged a career high 14.7 points and career high 30.6 minutes per game.
The No. 1 Sun get ready for games one and two of the WNBA Semifinals scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Thursday, Sept. 30. Both contests will be played at Mohegan Sun Arena and broadcast on ESPN2. Tip is set for 8pm ET. For more information or to purchase tickets head to conneticutsun.com or https://bit.ly/PlayoffTickets21 .