Another game, another history-making performance from New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu. During the Liberty’s impressive 116-107 win over the Las Vegas Aces on Wednesday night, Ionescu put together the best game of her young career, finishing with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to record the first 30-point triple-double in WNBA history.
The previous record for highest-scoring triple-double was held by Lisa Leslie, who put up 29 points, 15 rebounds and an astonishing 10 blocked shots back in 2004. Ionescu’s previous highest-scoring triple-doubles were 27 and 26 points. No one else in WNBA history has ever had a 20-point triple-double.
This was the second triple-double of the season for Ionescu, and the third of her career, tying her with Candace Parker for the most all-time. Those two are also the only two players to ever have multiple triple-doubles in a season and have both done so in 2022.
The Liberty trailed by as much as 12 early on and were down by eight at halftime, but Ionescu simply wouldn’t let them lose. She found Marine Johannes for 3 in transition on the Liberty’s first possession out of the break and never looked back, putting up 12 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to nearly record a triple-double in the second half alone. Late in the fourth quarter, she put the game away by either scoring or assisting on 12 straight points.
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While the 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists stand out, it’s worth noting Ionescu also shot 10-of-13 from the field, including a career-high 7-of-8 from 3-point land, and had zero turnovers. As if her other records weren’t enough, this was also the first triple-double without a turnover in WNBA history.
Triple-doubles, obviously, aren’t the be-all, end-all, and there have been more meaningful performances in terms of playoff importance, but you could make a case that in a context-less vacuum this is perhaps the best all-around performance in the history of the league. At the very least, it is right up there.
Thanks to Ionescu’s big night, and a brilliant outing from Han Xu, who had a career-high 24 points and eight rebounds on 11-of-12 from the field, the Liberty snapped a mini two-game losing streak and improved to 9-12 on the season. After a disastrous 1-7 start, they have climbed to within half a game of the playoffs.