NEW YORK – Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones has been named the 2021 Kia WNBA Most Valuable Player, the WNBA announced today. This is the first WNBA Most Valuable Award for Jones, who was the 2018 WNBA Sixth Player of the Year and 2017 WNBA Most Improved Player.
Jones received 48 of 49 first-place votes and 487 total points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner finished in second place with 224 points (one first-place vote). Seattle Storm forward Breanna Stewart, the 2018 WNBA Most Valuable Player, finished in third place with 156 points. Finishing in fourth and fifth place, respectively, were Minnesota Lynx center and 2017 WNBA MVP Sylvia Fowles (137 points) and Washington Mystics center and 2012 WNBA MVP Tina Charles (127 points).
Players were awarded 10 points for a first-place vote, seven points for a second-place vote, five points for a third-place vote, three points for a fourth-place vote and one point for a fifth-place vote.
In her fifth WNBA season, Jones averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.26 blocked shots and 1.26 steals in 31.7 minutes in 27 games. The 6-6 forward led the WNBA in rebounding and defensive rebounding (8.7 drpg) and ranked fourth in scoring and 10th in blocks. Her efficiency rating of 25.4 was second only to Griner (26.0).
Jones, 27, won the WNBA Peak Performer Award as the league’s top rebounder for the third time in five seasons. She also led the WNBA in rebounding in 2017 and 2019.
Behind Jones, the Sun posted the highest winning percentage in franchise history (.813) and finished the regular season with 14 consecutive victories for the fourth-longest winning streak in WNBA history. Connecticut also earned the league’s best record (26-6) and the No. 1 seed in the WNBA Playoffs 2021 presented by Google. The Sun, seeking to win its first WNBA championship, hosts the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky in Game 1 of a Semifinals series tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
Jones scored at least 20 points in 12 of 27 games, including a career-high 31 points vs. the New York Liberty on June 5 and again at Washington on Aug. 31. She also grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds at New York on July 11. Jones finished the season with 18 double-doubles (points-rebounds).
A native of the Bahamas, Jones was named the WNBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for May, August and September. Connecticut posted a combined 18-2 record in those three months.
Jones was selected by the Los Angeles Sparks with the sixth overall pick in the 2016 WNBA Draft before Connecticut acquired her draft rights in a trade that night. She holds career averages of 13.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.42 blocks.
In honor of being named the 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player, Jones will receive $15,450 and a specially designed trophy by Tiffany & Co.