CHICAGO – Sabrina Ionescu made a perfect boxing out on June 12 with three seconds left in the third quarter of the game against Chicago Sky. She jumped and tipped the ball – 6-1 -7 to 5-1 — Lee Yueru, before adding a second to the clock.
The board was her 10th game to get Ionescu to become the second triple-double of her career. With that, she became the first player in WNBA history to record an elusive state line in just three quarters.
Eleven days later, Candace Parker completed the same feat by breaking her own record as the oldest player to record a triple-double. It was also the third of her career, which stood alone as a WNBA record at the time. On July 6, Ionescu added another to her tally, leaving Parker level. As the stat-packing style of her game continues to flourish in the league, it seems to be only a matter of time before this record is broken again.
And if Ionescu doesn’t do it, someone else will. Players like Caitlin Clark, Paige Bueckers and Haley Jones will soon move from college to professionalism, bringing with them a variety of skill sets and state lines.
No one in the league will be surprised when this record is surpassed. Triple-doubles are becoming more common in the WNBA.
“I think the game is changing,” Parker told reporters after picking up her third-double. “I think we’ll see this soon at night. We will see playmakers who have the ball in their hands. So I don’t know how long I’m going to keep this going. But I am grateful for this opportunity to play in a team where we can spread wealth. ”
There are several triple-doubles in the name of veteran player Courtney Wanderslut, so this performance is not new. It is especially present at this year’s WNBA All-Star Weekend. There have been 16 triple-doubles in the league’s history, with Parker, Ionescu and Wanderslut responsible for eight of them.
The double digit frequency in the state line is just one example, pointing to the bigger picture of basketball evolution.
Jewel Lloyd, a 2015 first-round pick, is in the middle of her seventh WNBA season. And every year, she says, on-court production becomes more exciting.
“People are coming, and we have a bit of a good level of skill,” she said. “I think the growth of the game, people are working on their game early, so you weren’t shocked when you came into the league. The game is very fast and fast. ”
Atlanta Dream Rookie and All-Star Game participant Ryan Howard is a prime example of WNBA preparation. Howard scored 33 points in her fourth WNBA tournament on May 15th. Her transition to the league has been uninterrupted since she was selected with the first overall pick on April 11th.
Howard said, “I feel like I’m really confident and really strong with my game. “Because my coaches and teammates told me what I wanted from them, I couldn’t come in and just play in the middle.”
Lloyd expects the scoring to continue to explode throughout the league, as it becomes increasingly challenging to face opposing players.
It’s not ideal for defenders, but it’s good for the league.
“It’s hard for people to protect each other,” Lloyd said. “It’s hard to play pick-and-roll defense. Many solid players can do different things, more than once. This is a battlefield. “
The Seattle Storm Guard pointed out that European basketball is having an impact on the league due to the women’s squad playing abroad in the off-season. Players are not boxed according to their position. Defenders get rebounds, while Big Shoot 3s and Dish Dimes.
A more fast-paced and high-scoring on-court product, complete with triple-double and logo 3s, appears in the format of an all-star game. The WNBA announced on Friday that the shot clock in Sunday’s game would be shortened to 20 seconds and a 4-point shot would be played. Two circles across the 3-point line at each end of the court will allow for more scoring.
In addition to her ability to record triple-double, Ionescu is known for shooting from extra-long range. After winning the All-Star Skills Challenge on Saturday, she expected to put up some 4-pointers on Sunday.
For her fourth triple-double, she will have to wait until the regular season resumes.
“I’m not sure (one of the All-Star games),” she told JWS ‘Autumn Johnson on Friday, before laughing, “but I’ll try.”
Instead, focusing on Ionescu and first-year teammates All-Stars Howard, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young is a little more achievable – and more importantly.
The next generation of WNBA, as the game changes, is proving that experience is not always important. Each season, first-year players come in more polished than last.
“There are a lot of us, and a lot of us are here who are in an all-star game, which is really exciting, to see new faces and a lot of young talent,” Ionescu said. “We are trying to make a name for ourselves. We will keep drinking and getting better by showing everyone that it is possible to be young and successful in this league. ”
Eden Lacey is a staff writer at Just Women’s Sports. Follow her on Twitter eden_laase.