Call it the year of the triple-double in the WNBA, with nine recorded during the 2022 season.
The most recent four have come from Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas, including the first two in WNBA Finals history. That makes her the first player with four career triple-doubles.
She also is the first player with more than two triple-doubles in a single season. All of her four came after July 21.
Thomas made history once more in the Sun’s Game 4 loss to the Las Vegas Aces in the WNBA Finals on Sunday. She became the first player in WNBA history to log back-to-back triple-doubles.
In addition to Thomas’ staggering success this season, Candace Parker and Sabrina Ionescu each had two apiece, and Moriah Jefferson had one.
“I think the game is changing,” Parker said following the third triple-double of her career in June. “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. So I don’t know how long I’m going to hold onto this. But I’m grateful for this opportunity to play on a team where we can spread the wealth.”
But how many triple-doubles have been recorded in WNBA history?
There have been 20 triple-doubles in the league’s 26 seasons, with 16 being recorded during the regular season and just four during the playoffs.
Sheryl Swoopes recorded the first playoff triple-double in 2005, while Courtney Vandersloot did so last year. Thomas joined their club in this year’s Finals.
Swoopes, Vandersloot, Thomas, Parker and Ionescu are the only players with multiple triple-doubles in their careers. While 20 triple-doubles have been recorded, they have come from just 11 total players.
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 season became the first with multiple triple-doubles in a season. 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 Sparks.
Her other two came 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 one on June 23 (10 points, 10 rebounds, 14 assists).
Vandersloot recorded the first of her two triple-doubles on July 20, 2018, recording 13 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists. She recorded her second triple-double during the 2021 postseason, notching 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
As a member of the Sparks, Gray recorded a triple-double on July 7, 2019. She had 13 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
Ionescu’s first triple-double came on May 18, 2021, as 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, recording 31 points – the first 30-plus point triple-double – and adding 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
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.
Thomas recorded the first triple-double of her career and the first in Connecticut Sun history on July 22, 2022. The 30-year-old tallied 15 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.
Less than two weeks later, on Aug. 2, Thomas recorded 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 another triple-double in the team’s Game 4 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.
A historic #WNBAFinals performance from AT. pic.twitter.com/Eq7SZ2zXkw— Just Women’s Sports (@justwsports) September 16, 2022
A historic #WNBAFinals performance from AT. pic.twitter.com/Eq7SZ2zXkw