Jones’ toughness shines in first round of the WNIT

By Zachary Blobner

Florida junior sharpshooter Jordan Jones dropped 18 points Friday night against the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers during the first round of the Women’s NIT.  Her explosive offensive night was only half of what impressed those in attendance as the Gators routed the Retrievers to a 59-47 victory at the O’Connell Center. 

You know that face you make when you’re watching sports and an athlete gets hit hard or falls awkwardly in a way that kind of just makes you snap your neck to the side and scrunch your face as if you were the one that got hurt?  Well, Jones could probably put together a highlight reel of those moments using only footage from Friday night’s game. 

After looking at the stat sheet and listening to her at the post-game press conference you would have no idea. 

Her toughness is something you would most likely expect to see in the octagon; however her fights are on the court. 

During the first half, Jones went up in the air with a UMBC player for a loose ball, and as they came down Jones’ knee appeared to twist in an unpleasant way with the UMBC player landing on top of her. Jones immediately came out of the game. 

When I spoke with Jones after the game, she assured me that her knee was fine, and mentioned that sitting on the bench for a few minutes was actually helpful.  Jones walked into halftime with 6 points and no noticeable injury.

With the Gators down by 3 early in the second half, Jones stepped in and stepped up, scoring 10 points in only 4 minutes putting the Gators ahead by 9 with about 12 minutes left to play.

In that span she also came up big on the defensive side of the ball drawing a hard charge from one of the Retrievers.

After the game when Jones was asked about her individual performance she smiled and told reporters she “enjoyed the pressure” and that “this time of the year, it’s go big or go home.” Behind Jones the Gators went big at home, on to the next one.

The Gators (19-14) advanced to the WNIT second round where they will play Florida Gulf Coast (28-3) on Monday at Alico Arena, where tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.