Connecticut Sun

Alyssa Thomas for MVP? Sun star makes her case with historic night

It's time to consider Alyssa Thomas as a legitimate WNBA MVP candidate.

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Stop us if you heard this before: Alyssa Thomas made WNBA history Tuesday night.

It's been that kind of season for the Connecticut Sun forward, who entered Tuesday's game against the Los Angeles Sparks with a WNBA-record five triple-doubles. All she did at Mohegan Sun Arena was extend that record to six with an eye-popping stat line of 27 points, 12 rebounds, 14 assists and six steals to power the Sun to a 90-76 victory.

Thomas' massive performance helped her extend a pair of records she already owned -- most double-doubles (27) and triple-doubles (six) in a single season -- while writing two new WNBA records:

  • Thomas' 305 assists this season are the most in WNBA history, passing Courtney Vandersloot's record of 300 set in 2019.
  • Thomas is the first player in WNBA history with at least 25 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and five steals in a single game.

The Mohegan Sun Arena crowd showered Thomas with "MVP!" chants as she headed to the bench in the fourth quarter -- and they're well-deserved.

Las Vegas Aces star A'ja Wilson and New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart entered September as the two betting favorites to win WNBA MVP, and they're both putting up impressive numbers for the two best teams in the league -- Stewart (23.3 points per game) and Wilson (22.3 ppg) rank second and third in the WNBA in scoring, respectively.

But neither player stuffs the stat sheet like Thomas, who ranks among the league leaders in multiple categories:

  • Minutes played: 1398 (1st)
  • Points/game: 15.9 (18th)
  • Rebounds/game: 9.9 (1st)
  • Assists/game: 8.0 (2nd)
  • Steals/game: 1.9 (3rd)
  • Efficiency rating: 24.6 (3rd)

Simply put, Thomas does it all for the Sun, who will enter next week's playoffs with the third-best record in the league behind Las Vegas and New York. The Athletic posted a WNBA MVP straw poll Wednesday morning, and three out of four experts picked Thomas, in part due to her all-around contributions.

"The wide net that Thomas casts across the court on offense and defense is evident, not only in her record double-doubles (25) and triple-doubles (five), but also in the fact the Connecticut Sun’s net rating is as much as 30 points higher when she’s on the floor," The Athletic's Lyndsey D’Arcangelo wrote. "It doesn’t get more valuable than that."

MVP voting takes place immediately after the regular season, so we should find out pretty soon if Thomas gets her due.

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