WNBA Awards 2021: Jonquel Jones Takes Home MVP, Brionna Jones Wins MIP

Sun forward Jonquel Jones has won the 2021 WNBA MVP award, the league announced Tuesday. 

Jones won the award after receiving 48 of the 49 first-place votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Phoenix's Brittney Griner finished second, receiving the lone remaining first-place vote, while Seattle's Breanna Stewart, Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles and Washington's Tina Charles rounded out the top five.

Jones finished the year first in both win shares per 40 minutes and overall win shares, despite playing more than 100 fewer minutes than Phoenix’s Brittney Griner, who was No. 2 in win shares. She finished No. 4 in scoring (averaging 19.4 points per game) and also led the league in rebounding (with 11.2 rebounds per game). The Sun also had the league's best defense by a significant margin.

“She’s the ultimate chess piece; every game there’s a different advantage,” coach Curt Miller told Sports Illustrated. “The next step is for her to take us to the mountaintop.” 

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Jones, though, was not the only member of her team to take home hardware on Tuesday. Her teammate, center Brionna Jones, was named the league's Most Improved Player. Brionna Jones finished the regular season with career highs in minutes (30.6 per game), points (14.7 per game) and rebounds (7.3 per game). She also made her first-career All-Star team appearance this past July.

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Jones received 38 of 49 votes from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters. Aces guard Kelsey Plum finished in second place with eight votes while Wings guard Marina Mabrey and Liberty guard Betnijah Laney finished third and fourth, respectively.

Miller also received an award on Tuesday, winning the league's Coach of the Year honor for the second time in his career.  Miller, whose Sun finished with the league's best record, received 41 votes from a national panel of 49 sportswriters and broadcasters. Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve finished second with six votes while Bill Laimbeer of the Aces and Noelle Quinn of Storm tied for third with one vote each.

The Sun and Aces begin their postseason run on Tuesday night. Connecticut hosts Chicago in Game 1 of their semifinal series with tipoff set for 8 p.m. ET.

In other award news, Minnesota's Sylvia Fowles was named the league's Defensive Player of the Year on Sunday.

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