On opening night, Sabrina Ionescu got the 2021 WNBA season started with an incredible game-winning 3-pointer to lift the New York Liberty over the Indiana Fever. That apparently wasn’t enough excitement for her, however, because less than a week later she’s entered the WNBA record books as the youngest player to ever record a triple-double.
Ionescu was stellar yet again for the Liberty, putting up 26 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists in a 86-75 win over the Minnesota Lynx. In addition to the league mark as the youngest player with a triple-double, Ionescu also became the first player in Liberty history to achieve the feat.
Just before the mid-way point of the fourth quarter, Ionescu secured the triple-double by grabbing her 10th rebound of the game. In fitting fashion given the game she was having, she then came down the other end of the floor and drilled a 3-pointer to give the Liberty a 10-point lead. The Lynx wouldn’t get within single digits again.
Ionescu is the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles for both men and women with 26, so it’s not surprising at all that she was able to get one in the WNBA. Still, to do it so early in her career is impressive. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, Ionescu missed most of last season due to an ankle injury, so this was just her sixth career game. Before Ionescu, the fastest anyone had put up a triple-double was Sheryl Swoopes in her 59th career game.
After the game, Ionescu admitted that it was “pretty cool” to make history, but that it only mattered because the Liberty won the game.
“Obviously getting a triple-double in a win is what’s important,” Ionescu said. “If I got that in a loss it wouldn’t mean anything to me. Super proud of my teammates for helping me get that, my coaching staff. Those things never are easy, and they never come without help from everyone else on the court. So I’m just super thankful to have the teammates around me and be surrounded by such great players. But it’s definitely pretty cool.”
Speaking of winning, the Liberty are now 3-0 on the season, which has them in first place with the best record in the league. More than that, they’ve also already surpassed their win total from all of last season when they went a franchise-worst 2-20. There’s still a long way to go, but with Ionescu playing like this, the Liberty have a good chance to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2017.