Earlier today, Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones announced on her Instagram account that she would not be playing in the 2020 WNBA season due to personal reasons.

I support her decision on sitting out and her statement about health concerns of COVID-19.

This announcement has, surprisingly, changed the Sun’s chances of winning a WNBA championship this season. I was so excited to see her play along with DeWanna Bonner, a new member of the Sun, and Alyssa Thomas! I will miss her dearly until her return.

How Jonquel Jones Impacted the Sun

Jonquel Jones after being traded to the Sun on draft night

Selected initially sixth overall by the LA Sparks (traded to the Sun on draft night for Chelsea Gray) in 2016, she became one of the best centers in the WNBA during the 2010s. In her rookie season, she moderated 6.8 PPG and 3.7 RPG as a starter for six games during the regular season. The trade between the Sparks and Sun during the 2016 draft is considered one of the best deals in the history of the WNBA.

Jones’ Unbelievable Breakout Season

Jonquel Jones in 2017

In her second season, she became the starting center for the Sun. After the Sun’s 0-4 start, Jones helped the Sun win the first game of the 2017 season with a 23 point, 21 rebound double-double. Later in the season, the Connecticut Sun surprised the WNBA, as they came back from the 22-point deficit during the win over the Washington Mystics. In that game, Jones led the Sun with 22 points and 9 rebounds. She also became a WNBA All-Star for the first time in her career. In her all-star debut, she led the Eastern conference with 24 points and 9 rebounds along with a dunk in the final minute.

The Connecticut Sun have qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012 with a 21-13 record and a first round bye in fourth place. Jones won the Most Improved Player award after breaking a record of most rebounds in a season with 403 rebounds (11.9 RPG). In the second round of the playoffs, the Sun lost to the Mercury 88-83 during a single elimination game. In that game, she had a double-double of 19 points and 15 rebounds.

Jones Continues Her Success in The WNBA

In the 2018 season, she had her starting role reduced by Chiney Ogwumike, starting 16 of 34 games for the Sun. Jones averaged 11.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG, as the Sun finished with a 21-13 record in the fourth seed. The Sun got eliminated, once again, by the Phoenix Mercury, with a score of 96-86 in the second round of the playoffs. Jones went on to win the WNBA Sixth Woman of The Year award.

Jones Leads the Sun to the WNBA Finals

Jonquel Jones in 2019
UNCASVILLE, CT – JUNE 11: Jonquel Jones #35 of Connecticut Sun reacts to a play during the game against the Washington Mystics on June 11, 2019 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)

In the 2019 season, Jones became a regular starter. She was named to the WNBA All-star game for the second time in her career as a starter for Team Delle Donne. Jones led the WNBA in rebounds and blocks (tied with Brittney Griner) during the regular season with 9.7 RPG and 2.0 BPG. She also won the peak performer in rebounding and became a member of WNBA All-Defensive Team and All-WNBA Second Team. The Sun became a top-two seeded team, finishing with a 23-11 regular season record with a double-bye to the semifinals.

In the playoffs, Jones and the Sun dominated in the semifinals, sweeping the LA Sparks 3-0. The Sun reached the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2005. In game two of the finals, Jones led the Sun with a double-double with 32 points and 18 rebounds (nine offensive and defensive rebounds) in the win over the Mystics, tying the series 1-1. The Sun fought hard in the finals, losing to the Washington Mystics in five games. Throughout the playoffs, Jones averaged 17.9 PPG, 10.4 RPG, and 1.5 BPG.

Jones signs a Multi-Year Deal with the Sun

In the 2020 WNBA Free Agency, Jones signed a multiyear deal with the Sun. She has a bright future in the WNBA that will be carried by her three-point shooting and her amazing defense!

Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @ayaabdeen__ for more content. Follow my Diana Taurasi fan page on Instagram @dtaurasi3_fp. And check out more WNBA articles by the Belly Up Sports team.

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