The WNBA announced Sunday that Connecticut Sun center Jonquel Jones has won the 2017 Most Improved Player award. Jones had a breakout season, averaging 15.4 points per game and 11.9 rebounds per game after averaging 6.8 points and 3.7 rebounds in her rookie season a year ago. She received 32 out of 40 votes. Los Angeles Sparks guard Chelsea Gray finished second with three votes. San Antonio Stars center Isabelle Harrison, Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley and Washington Mystics center Krystal Thomas also received votes.
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Her 11.9 rebounds per game set the WNBA single-season record for rebounding average. She also set the single-season record for total rebounds with 403, passing Tina Charles for both records. Additionally, she broke Breanna Stewart’s single-season record for defensive rebounds with 280.
Jones started in all 34 Connecticut Sun games this season, as the team went 21-13 and qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. Playing without Chiney Ogwumike for the entire season, and starting the season without guard Alex Bentley, the Sun went from an 0-4 record to finish fourth overall in the WNBA. Jones was both the Sun’s defensive anchor and offensive leader.
Playing the center position, Jones shot 44.6 percent on 3-pointers and 81.8 percent from the free throw line. She also recorded 20 double-doubles after finishing with just two last season.
Jones will receive $5,000 and a trophy for the award. The Sun face the Phoenix Mercury Sunday in the second-round of the WNBA playoffs.