It’s been a rough beginning of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) season for Bahamian rookie Jonquel Jones and her Connecticut Sun.
They’re at the bottom of the WNBA Eastern Conference standings with a 1-7 win/loss record, after dropping their last five games.
Their most recent loss was an 83-77 setback at the hands of the Atlanta Dream last Friday. In the game, Jones finished with three points, five rebounds and two assists in just over 12 minutes of action. She’s currently averaging 4.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Sun.
Jones and the Sun look to get off their current skid on Friday when they host the Seattle Storm. That game is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Despite the fact that she’s been able to be effective in few minutes, Jones admitted that she’s still adjusting to playing at the WNBA pace and dealing with the grueling schedule of the pros.
“I mean in college we played often, but those games weren’t WNBA games,” said Jones. “This is a truly different level. My team is still young, but also filled with a lot of people who feel that they can come out and do great stuff.
“We just have to start clicking on all levels. In college you could get away with some halfway games and get a win, but in the WNBA, you have to bring it every night, which is something that we’re struggling with right now.
“However, I also feel that it’s something that we’ll learn from and it’ll make us better.”
Despite the slow start, Jones said that the support from the fans has been unwavering. Connecticut is known as one of the more popular states in the United States for women’s basketball, due in large part to the longtime success of the University of Connecticut Huskies women’s basketball team.
“Playing here is awesome. Win or lose they’re here to support us, and I don’t think we can ever fully show them how appreciative we are for that. I’ve watched women’s basketball at a lot of arenas, and there’s nothing that can compare to the feeling in Connecticut,” she said.
Jones is one of just two Bahamian female basketball players in the pros. Former WNBA draft pick Walteia Rolle has carved out a career overseas.
However, Jones said there needs to be greater emphasis on women’s basketball in The Bahamas, starting at the youth level. “Aside from a couple physical education teachers and coaches like “Moon” McPhee, there’s not much people placing an emphasis on girls basketball,” Jones said. “We need to get our system to a point where kids won’t have to do what I did, or what “Buddy” (Chavanno Hield) did, in terms of leaving home. If the kids can stay home and develop, The Bahamas could become a hub for talent.”