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WNBA: Sun’s Jonquel Jones wins MVP; Curt Miller named top coach

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Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones was named the 2021 WNBA Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, and her coach, Curt Miller, won honors as Coach of the Year.

Jones earned 48 of 49 first-place votes and 487 total points. Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner grabbed the other first-place vote and 224 points, with 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm finishing third with 156 points.

This is the first MVP award for Jones, 27. The 6-foot-6 Jones won Most Improved Player honors in 2017 and Sixth Player of the Year in 2018. She is the first player in league history to win all three.

In 27 games this season, Jones averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.2 blocked shots and 1.2 steals in 31.7 minutes. She led the league in rebounds and defensive rebounds (8.7 per game), and finished the regular season with 18 double-doubles.

Miller led the Sun to the highest winning percentage in franchise history (.813), and Connecticut finished the regular season with 14 straight victories for the fourth-longest winning streak in WNBA history. The Sun posted a league-best record of 26-6 to earn the No. 1 seed in the playoffs.

The Sun have never won an WNBA title, and they’ll begin the quest Tuesday night when they host the Chicago Sky, the No. 6 seed, in Game 1 of the playoff semifinals.

Miller, 52, has guided the Sun to five straight postseason appearances. He previously was the women’s coach at Bowling Green (2001-12) and Indiana (2012-14) before spending a season with the Los Angeles Sparks as an assistant coach.

He joins Van Chancellor, Cheryl Reeve and Mike Thibault as three-time Coach of the Year winners. Miller received 41 of 49 first-place votes, while Reeve, who coaches the Minnesota Lynx, earned six. Bill Laimbeer of the Las Vegas Aces and Noelle Quinn of the Seattle Storm each gained one vote.

–Field Level Media

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