Jones' thoughts are in the Bahamas while she's still leading the Sun
Mohegan — Jonquel Jones knows what it’s like to live through a hurricane.
Jones, the Connecticut Sun’s all-star post, has been to emergency shelters for safety while growing up in the Bahamas and returned home to find fish swimming on the couch.
“I was talking to my cousin and I was telling him if I said this to other people, they’d think I’m crazy, but I’d rather be there with them (in the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian) and know they’re OK then to be here, honestly,” Jones said after Connecticut’s 102-72 win over the Dallas Wings on Wednesday.
“That’s my family. No matter what, I’ll put everything I’m doing aside and be there with them. We’re just trying to work on everything now (hurricane aid). The airports are flooded. The hospitals are flooded.”
The Sun host the Chicago Sky on Friday night in their final regular-season home game (7:30, Mohegan Sun Arena, NESN Plus).
Jones hadn’t heard from her parents in three days as of Wednesday night. The last she heard they were in a good situation and she hoped that it was because of power outages that she hadn’t heard from them since. She hoped to contact them after Wednesday’s game.
Jones talked to her sister before the game. She had to evacuate and walk through waist-high water with her six-month old child, Jones’ niece.
“My mom was always able to have us in the right situations at the right time,” Jones said about her hurricane experiences. “My dad was always stubborn. He never wanted to leave his house. He always tried to stay put, like he felt he could fight the storm himself. … (My mom), being a social worker, (we’d) help out at the shelters for older people.”
Jones said her sister returned home after Dorian and saw that the water level had reached the ceiling.
“We’ve never seen flooding (like this) before,” Jones said. “It’s gut-wrenching looking at those videos. It’s almost surreal because you don’t expect to see that level of devastation and damage. People were literally on their (roofs) to get away from the water because the water was so high.”
Jones has been in contact with countrymen Buddy Hield of the Sacramento Kings with both of them setting up separate GoFundMe fundraisers. Her goal is to raise $50,000, with former WNBA star Ticha Penicheiro organizing the fundraiser.
Jones put up $10,000 toward her GoFundMe page and one hundred and eighty-seven other donors had pledged nearly $30,000 as of 3:30 Thursday afternoon. Her Sun teammates and other members of the organization have contributed, as well as fellow WNBA players such as Brittney Griner.
“That’s what friendship is, being there for people in their time of need,” Jones said about the outpouring of support. “All of us (in the WNBA) have been blessed to be in situations where we can give back. It’s a blessing. God has put me in a situation now where I can reach back and help my community.
“If we do nothing, then we’re definitely taking what we’re given and what we worked so hard for for granted. It means a lot that people care.”
All sales of Jones’ T-shirts Wednesday night were going toward hurricane relief and sold out fast. Connecticut will donate all cash sales from Game 1 of its WNBA semifinal on Tuesday, Sept. 17, to benefit the Bahamas.
Tickets for Game 1 and Game 2 (Thursday, Sept. 19) may be purchased at connecticutsun.com or at the arena box office.
Connecticut (23-9) has secured itself a top two seed in the playoffs and a double-bye to the best-of-five semifinals, allowing it to avoid the precarious single-elimination first and second rounds.
The Sun are a game behind the Washington Mystics (24-8), who host Dallas on Friday. The Sun finish the regular season at the Indiana Fever on Sunday, while Washington hosts Chicago.
Connecticut holds the head-to-head tiebreaker against Washington.