Alyssa Thomas is leading the triple-double revolution.
Triple-doubles were a rare occurrence through most of WNBA history. Then came the year of the triple-double, with nine recorded during the 2022 season. And the pace has not slowed in 2023, with 11 as of Oct. 1.
Give credit to Thomas for the explosion. The Connecticut Sun forward recorded the first of her career on July 22, 2022, but finished that season with four — breaking the WNBA career record. And on Oct. 1, she recorded her seventh of 2023.
Thomas is the only WNBA player with more than two triple-doubles in a single season.
“Even myself as a coach, you have to intentionally tell yourself to not take these moments for granted,” Sun head coach Stephanie White said. “Like it just seems so routine that Alyssa Thomas gets a triple-double or close to a triple-double or a double-double. … It’s not routine, it’s exceptional.”
Five other players have recorded multiple triple-doubles: Candace Parker (3), Sabrina Ionescu (3), Sheryl Swoopes (2), Courtney Vandersloot (2) and Chelsea Gray (2).
“I think the game is changing,” Parker said following her third career triple-double in June 2022. “I think we’re gonna very soon see this on a nightly basis. We’re going to see those playmakers who have the ball in their hands.”
In total, 31 triple-doubles have been recorded across the league’s 27 seasons, with 26 during the regular season and five during the playoffs. The 31 triple-doubles have come from 14 total players.
Swoopes recorded the first playoff triple-double in 2005, while Vandersloot did so in 2021. Thomas joined the club with two in the 2022 WNBA Finals, and then added another in the 2023 semifinals.
Swoopes recorded the league’s first-ever triple-double on July 27, 1999, while playing for the Houston Comets. She recorded 14 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists. She would later get her second triple-double on September 3, 2005, with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
While with the Utah Starzz, Dydek had 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks on June 7, 2001. Dydek remains the only WNBA player to have recorded a triple-double through blocks and not assists.
Leslie set a new bar on September 9, 2004, recording 29 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks for the Los Angeles Sparks. That stood as the record for most points in a triple-double until Ionescu broke it in 2022.
On May 21, 2005, Nolan recorded the first of two triple-doubles that year. That 2005 season became the first with multiple triple-doubles. She had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for the Detroit Shock.
As a member of the Seattle Storm, Johnson recorded 13 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists on July 24, 2014.
It took nine seasons for Parker to record her first triple-double. On July 28, 2017, she had 11 points, 17 rebounds and 15 assists for the Los Angeles Sparks.
Her other two came with the Chicago Sky in 2022, with Parker recording the first triple-double of the year on May 22, with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. While she became the oldest player to record a triple-double in WNBA history in that game, she later became the first player to record three triple-doubles in league history with another on June 23 (10 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists).
Vandersloot recorded the first of her two triple-doubles on July 20, 2018, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists. She registered her second triple-double during the 2021 postseason, notching 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
As a member of the Los Angeles Sparks, Gray recorded a triple-double on July 7, 2019. She had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
In 2023, she notched the second of her career with the Aces in a rivalry win over the Liberty. She finished with 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
Ionescu’s first triple-double came on May 18, 2021, when she recorded 26 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists — the highest point total since Leslie’s triple-double in 2004.
She bested that number with a 27-point, 13-rebound and 12-assist performance on June 12, 2022. Then, against the Aces on July 7, Ionescu set the record for points in a triple-double with 31 — the first 30-plus-point triple-double. She added 13 rebounds and 10 assists in that game.
Jefferson added her name to the list on June 28, 2022, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the first triple-double in Minnesota Lynx history.
On June 30, 2023, Williams contributed 12 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists for the Chicago Sky in a win over the Los Angeles Sparks.
The Dallas Wings’ Satou Sabally recorded her first triple-double on July 28, 2023, putting up 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Dallas Wings’ win over the Washington Mystics.
She is the second player in Wings history to achieve a triple-double, joining Deanna Nolan. Nolan had one in 2005 when the franchise was in Detroit.
The final pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft at No. 36 overall, Sutton has bounced around the league over the last four seasons, but she inked her name in the history books with her first triple-double on Sept. 8, 2023. The 24-year-old guard had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for the Phoenix Mercury in a 94-73 loss to the Las Vegas Aces.
Thomas recorded the first triple-double of her career and the first in Connecticut Sun history on July 22, 2022. The star forward tallied 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 2, 2022, Thomas posted 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to become just the third player in WNBA history to record multiple triple-doubles in a single season — joining Parker and Ionescu, who also did so in 2022.
She added yet another — and the first in WNBA Finals history — on Sept. 15, with 16 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists in a Game 3 win against the Las Vegas Aces. Then she followed it up with still another in the team’s series-clinching loss to Las Vegas, notching 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to become the first WNBA player to post back-to-back triple-doubles.
On June 20, 2023, Thomas posted her fifth career triple-double, with 13 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists. Her sixth came just five days later on June 25, in a 14-point, 11-rebound and 12-assist performance. Then, just two days after that, Thomas recorded her third triple-double in eight days, with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
Her eighth came on July 30, 2023, with Thomas putting up 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. And her ninth came on Aug. 1, with 21 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists.
Thomas kept it rolling, with her 10th coming on Sept. 5, 2023. She recorded 27 points, 14 assists and 12 rebounds, as well as 6 steals. She’s the first player in WNBA history with 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals in a game.
“I’m doing something that’s never been done in the league before,” Thomas said following that performance. “And I’m making it look easy. And by no means are triple-doubles easy. Credit goes to my teammates.”
In the 2023 playoffs, she posted the 11th triple-double of her career in the WNBA semifinals, with 17 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists.