NEW YORK – Sabrina Ionescu made her mark this young season and is the fastest player in WNBA history to record a triple-double.
Ionescu had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help New York beat the Minnesota Lynx 86-75 on Tuesday night, giving the Liberty their first 3-0 start in 14 years. It was also her first triple-double in franchise history.
“Obviously getting a triple-double when you win is important,” said Ionescu. “Super proud of my team-mates, my coaching staff, who helped me with this. … I’m super grateful. It’s definitely pretty cool [getting the first one in franchise history]. ”
At 23 years and 163 days, she is the youngest player in WNBA history to accomplish this feat. The youngest youngest was Deanna Nolan (25 years, 269 days) on May 21, 2005, according to a study by the Elias Sports Bureau.
Number 1 in the 2020 WNBA draft, Ionescu was the ninth other player in league history to have a triple-double and the first since Chelsea Gray in 2019. The Liberty’s young star did it in her second and third sixth season WNBA game – the earliest in a career ever made. Sheryl Swoopes, who had the league’s first triple-double and is the only player with two in her career, did the feat in her 59th career game – the fastest mark to date.
Ionescu, who had an NCAA record of 26 triple doubles in college in Oregon, also became the second player in WNBA history to win a 20-point triple double, joining Lisa Leslie who did so on September 9th 2004 did (29 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks).
Liberty coach Walt Hopkins was not surprised by his young star’s success.
“She puts the work in for these moments. Does the work in the off-season so she’s prepared now. She has a special mentality in her belief in herself, her teammates and her desire to win,” Hopkins told her teammates. We’re making our way to this hot start because they all have an attitude of being hungry. “
Ionescu now had a deciding summer beater in their first home game on Friday and a triple-double in their second game at the Barclays Center to give Liberty their best start since 2007 when they won their first five games.
“To start 3-0 is a big deal for you. There have been some really great Liberty teams throughout history,” said Hopkins. It is a big deal for us that this team is realizing early on what it is capable of. “
New York were half 45:43 behind, before beating Minnesota 19-10 in the third quarter and advancing to the finals at 62:55.
The Liberty extended this lead and Ionescu achieved the triple-double, which corresponds to her 10th rebound with 5:24 in the fourth. She then nailed a 3-pointer on the other end to expand the advantage to 75-65. Minnesota couldn’t get any closer the rest of the way.
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.