June 26, 2023 

Alyssa Thomas makes triple-double history after All-Star snub

It’s the second triple-double that Connecticut’s star point forward recorded this week

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — About two hours after the league announced Alyssa Thomas wouldn’t have a starting role on this year’s All-Star roster, she put up 14 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists — yet another triple-double in a 96-72 win over the Chicago Sky at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday afternoon. 

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It’s the second triple-double that Connecticut’s star point forward recorded this week, and it makes Thomas the league’s undisputed triple-double leader, with four in the regular season (plus two more in the 2022 Finals), passing Candace Parker and Sabrina Ionescu who both have three. 

Thomas has the only two triple-doubles in the WNBA this season, recording her first — a well-rounded 13 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists — on Tuesday in a 85-79 road win against the Seattle Storm. Thomas got both triple-doubles in the first three quarters of play. 

The triple-doubles grab attention, but Thomas has been doing this all season — averaging 14.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.9 assists per game, along with 2.0 steals per game. She currently leads the league in rebounds per game and is second in steals and assists. 

She’s been protecting the ball in her most impressive passing performances. She has five games so far with at least 12 assists, and in those games she’s only averaging 1.8 turnovers. On Sunday, her 12 assists came with only one turnover.

Thomas has made three All-Star teams so far in her career, but has never been named a starter. Despite having one of the best seasons of her career as the engine of a 12-3 Sun team, Thomas just missed out on a spot on the starting forwards team — coming in seventh, outside of the six-person forward group. 

Thomas was fourth overall in media voting and seventh in player voting, but she was 10th in the fan vote, which made up 50 percent of the overall weighted ranking.

DeWanna Bonner, Thomas’ teammate and girlfriend, didn’t have much to say about Thomas’ All-Star snub after Thomas’ headlining performance.

“She should have been one. I don’t really have any thoughts. I think the thoughts are what she’s doing on the court,” Bonner said. “She should have been an All-Starter — simple.”

Lost in the excitement of another triple-double, Thomas passed Sun legend Taj McWilliams-Franklin for first all-time in rebounding in Connecticut Sun history (1,822), a record which stood for 17 years.

Thomas’ response to her history-making day resembled her response to when she broke the team’s single-game assist record against the Minnesota Lynx in early June — she credited her teammates for making her job easy.

“I’ve been doing this since college, so this isn’t new. But it just comes with who you’re playing with,” Thomas said. “I said to (my teammates) none of this is possible without them. So my name might be on it, but a lot of credit goes to my teammates, and so far this year for me, I feel I like it’s been the easiest for me with the way they’re knocking down shots.”

Bonner said she didn’t realize how good of a player Thomas is until she actually started playing alongside her on the court. But she said she’s one of the best player’s she’s played with — a list that includes Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi and Penny Taylor.

“She’s legit one of the best players in the world, and I think everybody’s starting to recognize it. And I think it’s great timing,” Bonner said. “She waited her turn and now she’s getting that recognition. It’s coming little by little, and I’m honored to play with her.”

Connecticut Sun forward Alyssa Thomas (25) shoots as Chicago Sky center Elizabeth Williams (1) defends during the WNBA game between the Chicago Sky and the Connecticut Sun at Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Connecticut, USA on June 25, 2023. Photo Credit: Chris Poss

First year head coach Stephanie White, who covered Sun games as a broadcaster before joining the team, said it’s hard not to notice how good of a player Thomas is when you actually watch her.

“Her accountability, not just for her teammates — I think you see that out on the floor — but her accountability to herself and how she’s going to compete every day and the standard that she holds herself to, again is second to none,” White said.

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White said Thomas’s assist numbers are no surprise. Second in the league to Courtney Vandersloot with 7.9 assists per game, Thomas has double digit assists in five games this season because she knows where the ball needs to go, White said.

“She knows who to get it to, she knows when to get it to them, she knows how to get it to them,” White said. “She’s like a coach on the floor. She’s an incredibly high IQ player, and when you have a player who has that will to win, has that competitive fire, who just plays their ass off all the time, that knows how to play too, I mean that’s what you get.”

Bonner said that she felt like Thomas was on her way to becoming one of the best players in the world before her achilles injury in 2021. There were questions if she was going to get back to that level, and for Thomas to reach even another level shows her character, Bonner said.

“She’s literally the triple-double queen in the WNBA coming off that type of injury. And that just says it all,” Bonner said.

Bonner said there’s no player like Thomas in the world — often playing 40 minutes and continually putting up a triple-double. It’s not just about passing, it’s about having a rare understanding of where the ball needs to go, she said.

“I kind of looked up and I already knew that she was going to get there. They don’t put the assists on the board here, but when I saw the rebounds, I’m like, ‘Yeah, this is gonna be a triple-double type of night,’” Bonner said “But to get it tonight on the home court in front of these fans is special and I’m super proud of her and I’m super proud to be her teammate.”

Written by Jacqueline LeBlanc

Jacqueline LeBlanc is the Connecticut Sun beat reporter for The Next. Prior to The Next, Jacqueline has written for Her Hoop Stats and Sports Illustrated.

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