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Jasmine Thomas named to WNBA’s All-Defensive team for 2nd straight year

Connecticut’s Jasmine Thomas, who averaged 12.9 points a game, was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive team for the second year in a row.

UNCASVILLE, Sept. 1 – For the second straight year, Connecticut Sun guard Jasmine Thomas was named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive team.

“This is exciting news and a well deserved honor for Jasmine,” Sun head coach and general manager Curt Miller said. “I appreciate that other coaches recognize the relentless effort that Jasmine plays with at the defensive end. She takes pride in her defense and is willing to put in the time off the court studying individual and team tendencies.”

Thomas led the Sun with 37 steals in 2018, her fourth consecutive season with 35 or more thefts. She also had 85 defensive rebounds.

“I take pride in playing hard on both ends of the floor,” Thomas said. “It’s nice being recognized by other coaches for my defensive effort.”

Joining Thomas on the WNBA All-Defensive First team are Defensive Player of the Year Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks, Phoenix’s Brittney Griner, Seattle’s Natasha Howard and Atlanta’s Jessica Breland.

The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Minnesota’s Sylvia Fowles and Rebekkah Brunson, former UConn star Tiffany Hayes of Atlanta, Los Angeles’ Nneka Ogwumike and Washington’s Ariel.

Thomas started all 35 games this season for the Sun (21-13), who posted their second straight 20-win season. She averaged 12.9 points a game, second on the squad behind Chiney Ogwumike, had a team-high 163 assists and was third on the team with 46 three-point shots.

Her all-around play helped the Sun finish the season on a 9-1 run. They opened the season by winning their first seven games as well.

“Ever since I was a kid I have heard ‘if you aren’t scoring, do something defensively’ so if the shots aren’t falling I have to impact the game in another way,” Thomas said earlier this season.

It’s the second post-season honor for a Sun player. Jonquel Jones was selected as the WNBA’s Sixth Woman of the year in voting by league coaches and sportwriters.

Jones averaged 11.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, a career-high 1.7 assists and 1.24 blocked shots per game this season.  She tied for ninth in the WNBA in blocks and ranked fifth in field goal percentage (55.0) and second in three-point field goal percentage (46.7).  With 50 three-pointers made, she surpassed her total from the previous two seasons combined (36).

During the Sun’s 9-1 finish to the season, Jones averaged 18.5 points and 6.6 rebounds.  That stretch included four games of 20 or more points for the 24-year-old Jones.

The last Sun player to win the Sixth Woman award was Renee Montgomery in 2012.

 

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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