In 2019, American hurdler Dalilah Muhammad shattered the world record in the 400m hurdles, not once but twice.

To break records of such a high caliber requires unrelenting competitiveness — especially in such a grueling event that entails clearing 10 hurdles. But when Muhammad isn’t bolting around a track, she considers herself to be pretty “chill.”

“A lot of times people see you on the track, and they think you’re this super competitive person,” she told Just Women’s Sports.

“But honestly, I think off the track, that would be the most surprising thing about me. I’m not the type of person that has to win at bowling or has to win at board games.”

There’s a time and a place for Muhammad’s competitiveness, like last summer when the defending champion in the 400m hurdles was gearing up for her second consecutive Olympic Games.

The then 31-year-old won gold in the event at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro and was set for an epic showdown in Tokyo to defend her title. In the end, Muhammad finished the race in second place to teammate Sydney McLaughlin.

Not many knew the challenges Muhammad faced leading up to that blistering race, where she clocked 51.58, her fastest time ever, to win silver. She had nicked her hamstring twice, causing her to develop a slight limp, and dealt with two separate bouts of COVID-19, each time leaving her with severe symptoms that derailed her ability to train.

Muhammad achieved greatness despite such adversity. The key, she said, was a switch in her mental approach.

“I think for me, it was me telling myself to just have fun and try and see what happens,” she said. “I think just having that little flip in mindset really enabled me to push through and to see where I could take it.”

A native of Queens, New York, Muhammad began her track and field career at 7 years old. After seeing the youngster bounding down the city streets, a neighborhood track coach urged Muhammad’s mother, ​​Nadirah, to have her join his club team.

Opportunities for aspiring runners like Muhammad were plentiful within the borough, where there were multiple teams she could join and many local tracks available. “I can think of three tracks that are literally within a mile radius of where my actual apartment was,” she said.

Early on, Muhammad says she dipped her toe into as many sports as possible, including basketball, tennis, dance and swimming. But it was track and field that she loved the most.

“I definitely was the best at track and field,” she recalled of her younger self. “And I just felt like I had a gift, and I wanted to pursue that gift.”

Although she felt a unique magnetism toward the hurdles, Muhammad was encouraged by her coach to give many events a try — race walk, long jump, high jump, and even shot put and cross country.

“I always loved the hurdles. I always gravitated towards them,” she said. “I remember wanting to really nail the technique and really wanting to be good at it.”

It was no surprise when her love for hurdling blossomed in high school. With a solid endurance base, Muhammad was poised to excel in the 400m hurdles, an event only high-school level athletes in New York state could enter.

“I was one of those kids that couldn’t wait for the 400m hurdles,” she said. “I had enough speed, but I also had the distance background that a lot of 400m hurdles need.”

At Benjamin N. Cardozo High School, located in Bayside, a neighborhood of Queens, Muhammad says she began to push her limits and, in turn, took her athletic pursuits more seriously. In 2007, she won the IAAF World Youth title in the Czech Republic and was named New York State’s Gatorade Female Athlete of the Year. The following season, as a senior, she captured gold in both the New York State Championships and the Nike Outdoor Nationals.

During those teenage years, Muhammad realized her dream of earning a collegiate track and field scholarship was within reach. Several universities — including Oregon, Texas A&M, Florida State, South Carolina and USC — were chomping at the bit when Muhammad became eligible for recruitment. Eventually, she traded the East Coast for the West to attend USC.

“I thought that USC would have a nice balance of a good academic program and athletic program. That was really what sold it for me,” she said. “And you can’t beat the California weather.”

As a Trojan, Muhammad majored in business and became one of the leading 400m hurdlers in the nation. She earned All-American honors twice in the event and still ranks among the top 10 USC performers of all time.

In 2013, a year after graduating from USC, Muhammad was itching to make her first-ever World Championship team. After falling short in the preliminary round at the 2012 Olympic Trials, she was determined to make a comeback.

During that process, she developed a way to center herself while still taking everything in stride. It became just one word — her “power word.”

“I remember setting a goal and deciding, OK, the goal is to make this team, and let’s just find a word that puts it all into one line,” Muhammad said.

At her first Olympics in Rio in 2016, Muhammad won gold in the 400m hurdles. (Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)

Rather than letting the pressure of reaching the world-class stage consume her, Muhammad repeated her power word again and again. Almost like a mini mantra, it began to work.

The performances that followed boosted her track profile and eventually led her to sign an endorsement deal with Nike. At the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships, she won her first national title in a new personal best to clinch her spot on the U.S. team. Unfazed by the global competition, Muhammad then blazed down the home straightaway at the World Championships in Moscow to earn a silver medal in the 400m hurdles.

Fast forward to this outdoor season. Muhammad, now 32, is dominating the elite hurdling scene. Just last month, at the Diamond League event in Birmingham, she comfortably cleared the final hurdle in first place with a time of 54.54. While she sat out of the USA Outdoor Championships this past weekend with a hamstring injury — where reigning Olympic gold medalist McLaughlin won in world-record time — Muhammad is set to compete in the 400m at worlds next month after receiving a bye as the defending champion.

“I think this has been one of my best seasons I’ve been having so far, in terms of how I’ve been practicing, and I’m a lot stronger,” Muhammad said.

Coached by Lawrence “Boogie” Johnson at the Athletic Performance Ranch in Forth Worth, Texas, Muhammad has been training with a new stacked roster of 16 women and men.

“They just bring so much life to training every single day, and having younger people to train with definitely keeps you motivated,” Muhammad said.

The group works out during the early mornings from Monday through Friday, and sometimes Saturday to beat the southern heat. At this point in the season, Muhammad says practices last about three hours — compared to the typical five — followed by a short break and then a weightlifting session in the gym.

“It’s that nice balance of being super proud of the people that you train with, and having them to push you, too,” she said.

While Muhammad shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon, her future as a pro athlete has inevitably been on her mind. “I think it starts to play in your head — your age, and what the world is telling you,” she said.

Muhammad and Sydney McLaughlin, teammates and friends, are also each other's fiercest competitor. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Now more than ever, athletes are pushing the limits of longevity to achieve peak performance past age 40. Muhammad looks up to 40-year-old tennis star Serena Williams, in particular.

“She, to me, is a huge figure of someone that really represented it,” Muhammad said. “She made it possible that you can have a really long career in sports.”

For the first time in history, the World Athletics Championships will take place on American soil at the magnificently renovated Hayward Field beginning July 15. The women’s 400m hurdles will be a headlining event in Eugene.

As of the end of May, Muhammad is ranked third in the world.

“I always felt joy the other years, but this year for me it’s even more so than the rest. I look forward to really racing and just kind of seeing what happens,” Muhammad said.

“My goal is definitely to bring home that win again and to defend that title. I’d like to break the record, too.”

Brenley Goertzen is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @BrenleyGoertzen.

When you watch Vashti Cunningham spring from the ground to float cleanly over a high jump bar, you understand why she’s one of the best in the world.

Since turning professional at 18 years old, the Las Vegas native has continued to prove her athletic prowess, from dominating the American high jump scene to launching onto the global stage. Now 24, Cunningham is reaching new heights, including beyond the bar.

“I definitely think everything that I’ve been doing has, in some way, changed over time,” Cunningham told Just Women’s Sports.

“Whether it’s me running — literally my physical approach in high jump — or my mental approach, my spiritual approach, I think everything has matured a little bit more.”

It’s been six years since Cunningham became the youngest woman to win a World Indoor Championships title in any event. Then she signed with Nike, graduated from high school in Nevada and debuted at the Olympic Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro. She punched her ticket with a jump of 1.97m to finish second overall at the U.S. Trials. Once in Brazil, Cunningham advanced to the final round, where she placed 13th overall as the second youngest athlete on Team USA.

The accomplishments didn’t stop there. With a total of 10 national titles, Cunningham is fourth on the All-Time American performance list with a personal high-jump record of 2.02m/6-7.5. In 2019, she secured a bronze medal at the World Championships in Doha, and in 2021 she placed sixth at the Tokyo Olympics.

Early on, Cunningham participated in many sports from flag football to basketball and volleyball. She also tried out a variety of track and field events, like the 400 meters and long jump. It didn’t take long for her to find her knack as a high jumper.

“I think I realized high jump was my thing when my dad was coaching high jump, and I was still practicing high jump every single time,” she explained with a laugh. “I was like, OK, so this is the one that I’m going to do.”

Cunningham’s father, Randall Cunningham, who played 16 seasons in the NFL and mostly with the Philadelphia Eagles, is still her coach. Her mother, Felicity de Jager, is a former professional ballerina with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Raised by two extraordinary athletes, Cunningham and her siblings learned the value of hard work and camaraderie from a young age.

“I think the biggest lesson that I’ve learned is the support that comes with having a family like that. It’s never-ending, and it’s always genuine,” Cunningham said.

“That’s been one of my biggest and my strongest assets for when I perform, and which keeps me training.”

Cunningham knows that when it’s lonely at the top, support from those around you can make all the difference.

After suffering from a bone spur in her ankle in 2019, an injury that would eventually require surgery, it was Cunningham’s father who altered her training to involve less jumping. The change ultimately kept Cunningham from going over the bar as often, even before some competitions, and it has been a testament to the strength and trust of their relationship.

“It was helpful in the long run for preserving my body at the time,” Cunningham said. “I understood why I wasn’t going to be high-jump practicing.”

Cunningham placed sixth at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, improving on her 13-place finish in Rio in 2016. (Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Unable to physically practice her jumps, visualization became paramount to her success. Like her father, Cunningham has made a habit of watching her previous high jump competitions to remind her of the techniques she’s used for specific heights.

“If you’re somebody going through what I was going through when I’m not able to jump a lot, I think that the visual side of it is also giving your brain like a certain extent of muscle memory,” she said.

The other role model Cunningham named was the late Kobe Bryant. “I looked up to Kobe Bryant a lot, especially when I was playing basketball, I really loved basketball so much. And I love the Lakers, so that just automatically made me love Kobe,” she said.

Although Cunningham didn’t continue her basketball career in high school, she did play volleyball before choosing to focus solely on high jump. If Cunningham hadn’t turned professional right out of high school, many of the top track and field universities that were recruiting her at the time would have granted her the opportunity to continue her volleyball career at the collegiate level.

“If I do ever go back and play volleyball, I know I’m going to get there,” she said of possibly returning to the indoor court or giving beach volleyball a try one day.

Beyond her athletic dreams, Cunningham has aspirations in photography and fashion. Her Instagram feed is colorfully sprinkled with editorial fashion and lifestyle shots, in between photos of her high jumping.

She became interested in photography around the seventh grade when she was able to take an elective class. Since moving into her own place, she’s been able to experiment more and more with her passions off the track.

“Every time that I would look at the pictures that we were turning in or just looking through my pictures and taking pictures, I just enjoyed the way that I would capture it,” Cunningham said.

“I fell in love with my perspective of things and being able to show what I see things as.”

Similarly, Cunningham’s interest in fashion was born out of curiosity. When she began visiting the local Goodwill in Las Vegas, she would purchase clothes that she could repurpose to fit her style.

“I really grew my love for fashion and wanting to stand out and represent myself — rather than looking like everybody,” she said.

Her high school, Bishop Gorman, also required uniforms. When students were allowed to dress freely on certain days, Cunningham says she was even more motivated to embrace expression through fashion.

These days, Cunningham has been involved in countless photoshoots and fashion shows, even walking at Paris Fashion Week for Virgil Abloh’s Off-White spring and summer 2019 runway collection.

“Anything that I’ve been involved with, I take so much from and I try to apply it in the direction that I’m trying to go, without changing who I am or what I believe in,” she said.

This July, Cunningham, 24, will have another opportunity to reimagine greatness. The World Athletics Championships are coming to Eugene, Ore., marking the first time in history that the championships will be held on U.S. soil at historic Hayward Field.

Cunningham, currently sixth in the Women’s High Jump World Rankings, was able to preview the World Championships venue during the 2022 Prefontaine Classic at the end of May.

“I’m really excited for World Championships being in America. That’s one thing that is giving me something to look forward to,” she said. “The fact that we don’t have to travel so far and adjust to everything, and we get to just be where we’re comfortable.”

The women’s high-jump qualification round will begin on the second day of the meet on Saturday, July 16. The final will be held three days later on Tuesday, July 19. Cunningham’s goal is to finish in the top three.

“I do think Tokyo has just given me a lot of good energy going back into the season and wanting to prove myself through my jumping,” she said. “Not to other people, but just to myself.”

Brenley Goertzen is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @BrenleyGoertzen.

Last year was the most challenging stretch of Sara Hall’s running career. From being favored to make the Tokyo Olympic marathon team to dropping out at mile 22 of the U.S. Trials in Atlanta, Hall, then 37, wondered if she’d ever have another chance to redeem herself.

“Everything was canceled,” Hall says of the weeks following that disappointing race in February of 2020.

Overnight, the world shut down. With a global pandemic on the rise, Hall was left without any future races to erase the painful setback. “I really had to cultivate a love for the process,” she says. “I’ve always loved the grind of the hard work, but I had to just focus on today and enjoying today, instead of wondering if I’m ever going to use it towards a race goal.”

Fast forward eight pandemic months to a sunny December day in Chandler, Ariz., when the perfect opportunity for redemption finally presented itself.

Clocking a time of 2:20:32 at The Marathon Project, Hall raced her way into the record books to become the second-fastest marathoner in the U.S., nearly eclipsing Deena Kastor’s record set in 2006. With her gutsy first-place finish, Hall shaved almost 90 seconds off of her previous best of 2:22:01, which she ran just 11 weeks earlier at the London Marathon.

“I didn’t realize I had so much room to grow my aerobic capacity,” Hall says of her performance. “I kept trying longer distances and I kept having surprising success.”

But Hall’s success isn’t surprising. A seven-time Olympic Trials qualifier with ten U.S. titles from the mile to the marathon, Hall can both tackle speedier races on the track and thrive in much longer road races. A “jack-of-all-trades,” as she’s known among elite runners, Hall says one key element has allowed her to experiment with different distances — time.

Hall was a seven-time All-American and star at Stanford University. She credits her early coaches and teammates for helping her develop a healthy balance between training and nutrition. While many young runners struggle with the destructive cycle of under-fueling and overtraining, which often leads to severe burnout or bouts of career-ending injuries, the guidance Hall received at a young age has allowed her to stay healthy on and off the track.

Now, as a 38-year-old elite marathoner, fueling her body to support the intensity of every performance is vital to achieving longevity in her sport.

Hall says her top nutritional goal is to consume enough food to sustain each training session. In season, she regularly runs a full marathon on the weekends as part of her training. So, getting the proper fuel can make or break her workouts.

Hall also focuses on minimizing the sugar in her diet because of its inflammatory impact. Since becoming a marathoner, Hall believes her diet has become a lot “simpler,” centered on organic foods such as vegetables, starches like rice or pasta and grass-fed meats.

“Both really intense track training and longer marathon training generates a lot of inflammation,” Hall says. “The more you can counteract that with your diet, the better you can handle that training.”

The number one thing she says she gets asked at running events or expos is: “Sara, what do you eat before you run?”

The answer, she says, is UCAN. From fueling her fastest marathons to providing the perfect pre- or post-workout snack, UCAN is like a “nutritional insurance” that releases slowly, so Hall doesn’t feel depleted at the end of a 15-mile run.

“You need not only to fuel well to finish that effort, but you also need to fuel enough to recover quickly,” Hall says. “UCAN has been a great tool for that.”

As far as her favorites go, Hall says she enjoys the Cocoa Energy + Protein Powder and the Cherry Berry Almond Bar.

“It’s a game-changer, honestly,” says Dr. Cathy Yeckel, an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale School of Medicine and a nutritional consultant for UCAN. “It’s really a struggle to figure out, ‘How do I eat nutritionally and helpfully, but still fit in the training?’ The beauty of UCAN products is they completely take the guesswork out of it.

“There is so much potential just with having something that’s not going to throw your metabolism off.”

In January of 2021, Hall faced a different type of obstacle. She tested positive for COVID-19, forcing her to pump the breaks on her training. Along with her family, who was also sick, she recovered. The trouble, however, was the fatigue she experienced following the illness.

“I was set back by fatigue for months,” she says. “But I’ve learned how to pick myself back up and just take it day by day.”

Hall posted about her struggle with the virus on Instagram following the 10,000-meter race at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene this past July. She had competed in the trials hoping to complete her 17-year quest to make Team USA. In the end, Hall placed sixth.

“I didn’t make the team, but even to be in contention, there was a victory in that and how much I’ve overcome all year,” she says.

This month, Hall competed in the USATF 10 Mile Championships, hosted at the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, D.C. (and rescheduled from its usual April date because of COVID-19). Hall, the three-time defending champion in the race and favorite to win, crossed the line in sixth place. On Instagram, Hall wrote that it was a “rough one,” but she isn’t letting the disappointment distract her from the next challenge — the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 10.

“I’ve learned that I don’t need to take confidence from a race like that because I know how I’m training,” she says. “As far as looking ahead to Chicago, I know I’ve put in the work for the marathon. I’ve been focusing on that moment and what I’m doing in training is all pointing to that.”

Poised to kick off another standout marathon season, Hall is now vying to become the American marathon record-holder. This year’s Chicago Marathon will mark the long-awaited return of the event since it turned virtual during the coronavirus pandemic last year.

As for her future plans, Hall says she would never have guessed she’d still be running at the professional level right now. But as long as she continues to make improvements, she’s not going anywhere.

“I always want to compete because I love it. I’m a competitive person,” she says. “But I might transition to the trails or ultras — who knows?”

Brenley Goertzen is a contributing writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter @BrenleyGoertzen.

(Editor’s note: UCAN is a sponsor of Just Women’s Sports)

For the first time since 2016, the Chicago Sky have made it back to the WNBA semifinals after beating the No. 3-seeded Lynx 89-76 in Sunday’s last WNBA single-elimination game.

The Lynx opened the game with a strong lead, ending the first quarter 23-22, but would struggle to keep up for the remainder of the matchup as Chicago ran away with the victory.

Courtney Vandersloot led the Sky with 19 points, five assists, and five rebounds. Kahleah Copper also had a double-double scoring of 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Lynx guard Aerial Powers had a game-high of 24 points. In the fourth quarter, Powers led a Minnesota run that shrunk the Sky’s lead to six, but Chicago managed to fight them off until the end.

Sylvia Fowles, who was named the 2021 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, also came up big for the Lynx recording 17 points and eight rebounds.

Unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough for Minnesota.

Next up, Chicago will head to Connecticut to play the No. 1 seeded Sun in game one of the WNBA semifinals on Sept. 28.

In an epic elimination showdown on Sunday, the Phoenix Mercury advanced to the third round of the WNBA playoffs, knocking out the defending champion Seattle Storm in an 85-80 OT victory.

There was nothing but big plays from the Western Conference rivalry that even needed five extra minutes to determine a winner.

Brittney Griner led all scorers with 23 points, while Diggins-Smith recorded 20, and Kia Nurse and Brianna Turner each had 12. Taurasi, who made her return Sunday after missing the previous four games due to an ankle injury, scored 6 of her 14 points in overtime.

Phoenix took the early lead going up 32-20 in the second quarter. Meanwhile, Storm players Mercedes Russell, Katie Lou Samuelson, and Jewell Loyd all chipped in before Sue Bird buried a deep 3-pointer to give Seattle its first lead just before halftime.

The Storm strengthened their lead to 41-35 in the third quarter, with Phoenix trailing closely behind, with neither team leading by more than five points the rest of the way.

Tied at 70-70 in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, Skylar Diggins-Smith connected on one free throw, and Griner had a final drive to give Phoenix a 73-70 lead.

Bird eventually drilled a 3-pointer that pushed the score to 73-73 with a minute left. The game finally tipped into an extra period where the Mercury outscored Seattle 12-7. Brianna Turner had a killer defensive swat in overtime, while Taurasi drained a jumper with 2:14 left.

Seattle’s season comes to an end without star player Breanna Stewart playing due to a foot injury.

It was a fantastic day for the Arsenal women and Tobin Heath’s debut as they trounced Manchester City 5-0 to go on top of the Women’s Super League.

Arsenal captured the first two goals during a ruthless first-half performance. Man City had plenty of opportunities but was unable to defend against Vivianne Miedema’s opening goal, followed by a finish from Kim Little.

Arsenal grabbed another one when Kate McCabe made a brilliant run infield from the left and rammed home a deflected shot in the 60th minute.

A Man City foul on Little gave Arsenal another chance at the 78th mark. Little lifted the penalty into the top corner of the net, giving Arsenal a 4-0 lead.

Less than 10 minutes later, Tobin Heath made her Arsenal debut, after leaving Manchester United at the end of the 2020 season.

In the last act of the game, Leah Williamson wrapped things up with a header from Caitlin Foord’s corner. Arsenal completed their win with four different players on the scoresheet.

Next up, Arsenal will play Tottenham in the quarter-final on Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Natasha Cloud, the starting point guard for the Washington Mystics, is not happy about being left off the WNBA’s 2021 All-Defensive Teams, named earlier today.

The 2019 WNBA champion had a career-high of 6.4 assists, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.4 steals across 31.6 minutes per game this season.

Cloud, however, couldn’t quite replicate her scoring from last season, where she averaged a career-high of 9 points per game. This season she averaged 8.7 points.

Still, Cloud was a consistent defensive force for the Mystics, starting every single game in which she appeared for the second year in a row.

Here’s what Cloud had to say:

South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley was featured on the “Marty and McGee” show Saturday morning, ahead of the Gamecocks’ football game against Kentucky.

Staley brought her dog Champ with her to the interview as she spoke about being “bamboozled into coaching,” saying she “never wanted to be a coach.”

Staley recalled having no prior coaching experience when Temple lured her into the profession in April of 2000. The AD Dave O’Brien invited Staley to speak about a potential coaching opportunity, where she explained that she had no interest in coaching. But O’Brien was persistent in his pursuit for the three-time Olympic gold medalist and former WNBA All-Star.

According to Staley, O’Brien asked her two questions. The first was “can you lead?” followed by “can you turn our women’s basketball program around?”

O’Brien’s questioning tempted the fierce competitor in Staley, though she later attempted to politely decline the offer.

Two weeks later, however, Staley said she took the job and never looked back.

Canadian superstar Christine Sinclair scored a dazzling goal against Chicago on Saturday, marking her fourth this season for the Portland Thorns.

But the Red Stars rallied to beat the Thorns, 2-1, handing Portland their second loss in their last three games.

Sinclair, 38, scored in the 24th minute to open the scoring for both sides. Surrounded by defenders, Crystal Dunn was able to tap the ball to an open Sinclair outside the box. On a one-time shot, the veteran forward sent the ball off the inside of the far post and into the net.

The Thorns goal was quickly answered with an equalizer from Kealia Watt of the Red Stars in the 25th minute.

Neither team was able to edge ahead until Rachel Hill scored the eventual game-winner in the 65th minute off an assist from Mallory Pugh.

Up next, the Thorns host the second-place OL Reign on Saturday, Oct. 2, in a match-up with major playoff implications.

The WNBA All-Defensive First and Second Teams were announced on Sunday. Of the 10 selected players, four play for the Connecticut Sun.

Jonquel Jones and Briann January were named to the All-Defensive First Team, while Jasmine Thomas and Brionna Jones received second-team honors. The recipients were selected by a 49-member panel of sportswriters and broadcasters.

January and J. Jones were named alongside Brianna Turner, Sylvia Fowles, and Brittney Sykes. In addition to Thomas and B. Jones, the second team included Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, and Ariel Atkins.

As a team, Connecticut held their opponents to less than 70 points in a total of 18 contests and had the number one overall defensive rating, 91.7.

For the second time in her career, J. Jones was named to the All-Defensive First Team. Last week, the star forward was named Just Women’s Sports’ WNBA MVP as well as a member the All-Defensive team.

January, who is currently in her 13th year in the league, received first-team honors from the WNBA for the fifth time.

Connecticut Sun point guard and captain Thomas finds herself on the All-Defensive Second Team for the second time in her career. This is also her fifth time being named to one of the defensive teams after being selected to the All-Defensive First Team from 2017 to 2019.

B. Jones received the first WNBA All-Defensive Team award of her career. The most improved player candidate also averaged a career-high 14.7 points and career-high 30.6 minutes per game.

The No. 1 Sun earned a bye to the WNBA semifinals.