Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Always the drama queen

Jones wins nail-biter battle to earn berth in final

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CHARLOTTETOWN -- It is the thing about Jennifer Jones that makes her simultaneously both maddening and hugely entertaining to watch:

Nothing, ever, is easy.

You would think that with four Canadian titles under her belt -- including the last three in a row -- that Jones would have found a way by now to be at least a tiny bit more efficient in all that winning she does.


Give one, take two, make a couple of shots, capitalize on a couple of misses and you're home and cooled in under two hours.

But then it would not be Jennifer Jones, now would it?

And so it was yet again here last night as Jones and her foursome -- and she was ably assisted by her foursome -- turned the 1-2 game into a thrill-a-minute runaway train of alternating blunders and brilliance.

It was Jones at her most dramatic, spotting Saskatchewan's Amber Holland a 5-2 lead, storming back in the game's second half to take a 9-7 lead and then, just when it seemed okay to breathe again, giving away the lead in an absolutely brutal 10th end to send the game to an extra.

Jones won, of course -- 10-9 when Holland came up light on her last in 11 -- because that is what Jones always does. For all the high drama, last night and forever, history records Jones has not been beaten in the Scotties playoffs since 2007 and will carry a perfect 11-0 playoff run into the championship final here on Sunday as she pursues a record-tying fourth straight Canadian womens curling championship.

Business as usual, Jones said afterward.

No, said Jones, it wasn't their best first five ends. No, said Jones, it wasn't their best 10th end. But sheesh, she suggested, what's the big deal anyway?

"You just have to make the right ones at the right moments," Jones countered, "and we seemed to do that in that game."

Jones will now sit back and rest today as Ontario plays Nova Scotia in the 3 vs 4 page playoff game this morning (TSN, 10 a.m. CST), with the winner of that game to advance to play Saskatchewan in the semi-final (TSN, 3 p.m. CST) this afternoon.

It will be Jones's sixth appearance since 2005 in the final of the Canadian womens curling championship. She won four of her previous five final appearances, including each of the last three.

All of which will surely give her an advantage over whoever she plays tomorrow.

"I don't think experience is necessary," said Jones, "but it doesn't hurt. Obviously we know what to expect. So we're just really excited to be playing on Sunday and Kaitlyn's just pumped. It's going to be a lot of fun and, win or lose, I know we're going to have a great time."

Jones third Kaitlyn Lawes won Canadian junior finals in 2008 and 2009 but will be playing in her first-ever women's final on Sunday.

Jones says she'd love to win one for Lawes, but Lawes says the same thing about Jones. "She's such a talented curler," said Lawes, "hopefully we can get another championship."

Jones wanted nothing to do with any talk last night of history.

"I don't even think about the records. It's just all about playing well and hopefully enjoying the moment. And maybe things will go our way. It's always an honour to wear that Maple Leaf on your back and if we have that opportunity again, that would be amazing."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 26, 2011 D1

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