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It's not everyday you see an island girl at a hockey event, let alone a former WNBA MVP like Jonquel Jones. However, last week Jones attended the PWHL 3-on-3 Showcase at the 2024 NHL All-Star Weekend. 

CBS Sports spoke to Jones briefly at the event, where the Bahamian confirmed she will be returning to the New York Liberty on a two-year deal, as first reported by Liberty beat reporter Jackie Powell. 

The details have yet to be formally released by New York, but Jones confirmed her return in our conversation. 

"Yeah, I'm back," Jones told CBS Sports ahead of the PWHL showcase. "It feels amazing." 

Despite recovering from an injury, Jones became a key component to the 2023 New York Liberty team that advanced to its first WNBA Finals in over two decades. Jones averaged 12.2 points and 10.3 rebounds in the regular season, with her strongest stretch coming after the 2023 All-Star Break. Seven of her 11 regular season double-doubles (accounting for points and rebounds) came after July 15, including four consecutive games between July 21 to July 27. 

With the Liberty announcing their intentions to core 2023 WNBA MVP Breanna Stewart in October during exit interviews, Jones was left unprotected ahead of free agency. However, Jones has agreed to return to Brooklyn and attempt to finish what New York started last season.

"That trial period is over," Jones said. "We saw what we can do in New York, and what New York basketball means to all the fans there, and what it would mean to bring a championship to New York. So, we started something special, and I just wanted to continue to help build that, grow that, [and] ultimately get to that final goal." 

With Jones confirming her return and Stewart's core designation in place, the New York Liberty all five starters locked in. Betnijah Laney-Hamilton and Sabrina Ionescu accepted contract extensions, alongside Kalya Thornton. Courtney Vandersloot has one year remaining on her deal. 

New York has announced a few training camp contracts, but struck out in the Nneka Ogwumike sweepstakes, as the WNBPA executive president will continue her WNBA career with the Seattle Storm. Although the Liberty would have been glad to welcome Ogwumike into the fold, that would likely mean a former WNBA MVP -- Stewart, Jones or Ogwumike herself -- would play a reduced role. None of those players are at the point of their career where they might consider a reserve role, at least not yet.

New York would benefit most from finding another point guard to support Vandersloot -- or vice-versa -- and more athletic bench support overall. 

"You need a reliable bench, and we had a reliable bench, not saying that they weren't," Liberty coach Sandy Brondello said just days after losing to Las Vegas in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals. "We need to get better in a lot of areas, and defensively is one of them.

" ... This is our first year together. It took Vegas a few years to get where we were." 

Athleticism, defensive grit and backcourt support are all at the top of the list for New York. Securing their core five, including Jones, will hopefully accelerate their already impressive growth. 

Jones will enjoy a rare extended stay in the U.S. this offseason, including her high school and George Washington University Hall of Fame inductions.   

"After that, I'm heading back to China," Jones told CBS Sports last week in Toronto. 

And thus the women's basketball hamster wheel keeps spinning. If last season is any indication, a healthy Jones will be key to a strong start for New York. 

Jones and the Liberty open their season on the road May 14 against the Washington Mystics.