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Sun’s Jonquel Jones, Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas honored for defensive work

Jonquel Jones was named to the WNBA All-Defensive team for the first time, the league announced

Three Connecticut Sun players were named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive teams, the league announced on Tuesday.

Jonquel Jones and Jasmine Thomas were named to the first team while Alyssa Thomas was named to the second team.  Jones was No. 2 in votes for defensive player of the year in balloting by the WNBA’s 12 coaches.

Seattle’s Natasha Howard was named the WNBA’s Defensive Player of the Year. A two-time All-Defensive first team selection, Howard was No. 2 in the league in steals (2.18 per game) and third in blocked shots (1.74 per game). She gathered 55 votes to Jones 42.

Jones, Thomas and Howard were named to the WNBA’s All-Defensive first team along with  Los Angeles Sparks forward Nneka Ogwumike and Seattle guard Jordin Canada. Ogwumike was named to the first team for the fourth time in five years.

Jones, who was the 2018 Sixth Woman of the Year, tied for the WNBA lead in blocked shots (2.0 per game) with Phoenix’s Brittney Griner and was fourth in defensive rebounds (6.4 per game) to earn first team honors for the first time in her career.

This marks the third consecutive All-Defensive First Team honor for Jasmine Thomas, a top on-ball defender who tied for eighth in the WNBA in steals (1.41 per game).

The WNBA All-Defensive Second Team consists of Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins, Storm forward Alysha Clark, Sun forward Alyssa Thomas and Mystics guard Natasha Cloud.

Alyssa Thomas finished third in the WNBA in steals (1.94 per game) en route to her second All-Defensive Team selection (2017).  She also tied for 11th in total defensive rebounds (181).

The WNBA’s 12 head coaches selected the All-Defensive First and Second Teams by position and were not permitted to vote for players from their own teams.  Players earned five points for each First Team vote and three points for each Second Team vote.  If a player received votes at multiple positions, she was slotted at the position where she received the most votes.

2019 WNBA All-Defensive team voting
Natasha Howard, Seattle 55
Jonquel Jones, Connecticut, 42
Nneka Ogwumike, Los Angeles, 36
Jasmine Thomas, Connecticut, 36
Jordin Canada, Seattle 34

Second team
Brittney Griner, Phoenix, 34
Ariel Atkins, Washington 27
Alysha Clark, Seattle, 26
Alyssa Thomas, Connecticut, 25
Natasha Cloud, Washington, 25

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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