Sports

With an 'underdog' mentality, Connecticut's Jones snares WNBA MVP honor

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Oct 8, 2019; Uncasville, CT, USA; Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones (35) drives the ball against the Washington Mystics during the second quarter in game four of the 2019 WNBA Finals at Mohegan Sun Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

Sept 28 (Reuters) - Connecticut Sun forward Jonquel Jones said an "underdog" mentality helped propel her to the top of her sport, after being named the winner of the WNBA's Most Valuable Player award on Tuesday.

Jones won the award in her fifth WNBA season after she received 48 of 49 first-place votes and 487 total points from a national panel of sportswriters and broadcasters, the league said, just four years after she was named Most Improved Player.

"My whole basketball career has kind of been... just coming in as an underdog and just really working a lot," said Jones, a native of the Bahamas, who told reporters she "wasn't even good enough to make the varsity team" when she moved to the U.S. as a teenager.

Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, who earned the other first-place vote, finished in second place with 224 points.

Jones averaged 19.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists, as Connecticut went a league-best 26-6 to secure the top seed in the playoffs.

"My team mates are behind me 100%, my coaches are behind me 100%, this organization is, and it allows me to grow there and flourish and I think that's what makes an MVP: It's the work, it's the opportunity and it's the combination of everybody being behind you," she said.

The Sun, seeking to win their first WNBA championship, host the sixth-seeded Chicago Sky in the first game of the best-of-five semi-finals later on Tuesday.

Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto and Amy Tennery in New York Editing by Toby Davis

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