By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
THE country’s pair of women’s pro basketball players are both thriving with their respective clubs early in 2019.
Jonquel Jones returned to the floor for UMMC Ekaterinburg in the Russian Premier League while Waltiea Rolle continues to settle in as a key contributor off the bench for the Xianjiang Magic Deer of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association.
Jones finished with 25 points, five rebounds and shot 10-12 from the field in yesterday’s 118-49 win over Dynamo M. The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun star forward missed several games since she finished with 19 points in the season opener on a perfect day from the field. UMMC Ekaterinburg remains undefeated on the season.
Jones joined the defending Euroleague Champions UMMC Ekaterinburg of the Russian Premier League and FIBA Europe’s Euroleague during the WNBA offseason.
Last offseason in China, Jones became one of the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association’s most dominant players and led her Shanxi Xing Rui Flames to a runners-up finish in the final.
The star forward averaged a team-high 29.3 points, 18.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists over 31 games for Shanxi Xing Rui.
In the 2016 offseason, Jones was selected No. 5 overall by Woori Bank in the Korean Basketball League and led the team to a championship title.
On the season she averaged 15.8 points, 14.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks - all team leads - in 24 minutes per game for Woori Bank in 38 games.
At the league’s award ceremony, Jones earned the Foreign Most Valuable Player Award, Defensive Player of the Year award and was named “Best Five” in the league.
UMMC Ekanterinburg has won four Euroleague, 12 Russian titles and eight Russian Cups in team history. In addition to Jones, UMMC Ekanterinburg includes Brittney Griner and Kayla McBride.
Rolle finished with 12 points and six rebounds in 11 minutes as her third ranked Xinjiang Magic Deer (25-6) defeated the 12th ranked Hebei (12-19).
In the previous game, she finished with eight points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of a 92-69 win over Tianjin (2-28).
Rolle announced her signing with the club and subsequent return to professional basketball via social media on December 24.
Through five games, she is averaging 10.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 blocks on restricted minutes each night.