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Alyssa Thomas makes history with WNBA Finals triple-double

Alyssa Thomas recorded the first triple-double in WNBA Finals history. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Alyssa Thomas’ brand of play earns her plenty of glowing epithets.

Call her a “beast.” Call her the “engine.” And after the Connecticut Sun’s victory Thursday night to stay alive in the WNBA Finals, call her history-making.

The game was a must-win for the Sun, and Thomas played like it. The star forward recorded the first triple-double in WNBA Finals history to help save the Sun from elimination and down the Las Vegas Aces 105-76.

Thomas notched 16 points behind 57 percent shooting while adding 15 rebounds and 11 assists.

Six Connecticut players finished in double digits in a dominant offensive showing that saw the Sun completely overpower a typically relentless Aces squad.

Jonquel Jones looked like her former MVP self, logging 20 points, five rebounds and four assists, while DeWanna Bonner added 18 rebounds, six rebounds and five assists. But Thomas earned the most praise after the game.

“She kind of gets us going. She been doing this all year, so shout out to her for getting another triple-double but to do it in playoffs is unbelievable,” Bonner said of Thomas. “She brings a toughness to our team. Really when you say she’s the engine, she’s the engine. Don’t use that loosely.”

Thomas’ triple-double is the third of her career — and her third of the season. She has posted the three most recent triple-doubles in the WNBA, with her last two coming on July 22 and Aug. 2.

Thursday’s triple-double also stands as the third in WNBA postseason history. Thomas joins Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot and Houston’s Sheryl Swoopes in completing the feat in the playoffs.

“She’s probably the toughest player I’ve ever coached, but she’s the most consistent player in terms of effort that I’ve ever been around,” Sun coach Curt Miller said.

Aces coach Becky Hammon also recognized Thomas’ importance to the Sun.

“She’s a beast,” Hammon said. “I went to a UFC fight the other night — I would not want to get in the cage with her. She is just tough.”

Thomas’ outing jump-started a cold Connecticut offense, helping the Sun to 105 points after they averaged just 67.5 points through the first two games of the series.

“For me, I approached the game like I approached any other game,” Thomas said. “I think we just wanted it. We’ve been struggling offensively. We haven’t really been hitting shots and tonight we came out ready.”

The Finals series continues with Sunday’s Game 4, which will air on ESPN at 4 p.m. ET.