WNBA Triple Double: 2 in One Week
**Since this article was published the WNBA rescinded both triple doubles after the league reviewed the games and discovered statistical errors.**
WNBA Triple Double History
It’s not often that you have two triple doubles in one week. In fact, it has never happened in the WNBA. There are only seven recorded regular season triple doubles in the history of the league; six and seven happened this week.
On Friday, the Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry recorded the WNBA’s 7th-ever triple-double Friday with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Behind McCoughtry’s big night the Dream were able to secure the win over the Dallas Wings in overtime.
Earlier in the week, McCoughtry found herself on the other side of the triple-double stat line as the Phoenix Mercury’s Brittney Griner claimed triple double number six in a win against McCoughtry’s Dream with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 blocks. Griner joins teammate Diana Taurasi in the WNBA record books.
Before this week, the last triple double took place in 2014 by the Seattle Storm’s Tameka Johnson with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists.
It is no easy feat to get these types of statistics in the WNBA. As we’re in the 20th season of the WNBA, there has only even been five recorded triple doubles. This shows the difficulty and challenge to put up triple double type numbers. Yet we were able to witness six and seven this week alone, but lets not forget those that have done it before.
The First Five Triple Doubles
It’s no surprise that the first ever recorded triple double was by league pioneer, Sheryl Swoopes. On July 27, 1999, she recorded 14 points, 15 rebounds, 10 assists as a member of the Houston Comets. Swoopes is also the only player in league history to have a triple double during the playoffs. In 2005, she had 14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists against the Seattle Storm.
The second triple double was completed in 2001 by the late Margo Dydek of the former Utah Starzz with 12 points, 11 rebounds, 10 blocks. Dydek stood at 7’2” and was once the tallest active professional women’s basketball player. Sadly, in 2011 she passed away from a heart attack at age 37.
Former professional women’s basketball player and three time WNBA MVP, Lisa Leslie, had the third triple double in 2004 posting 29 points, 15 rebounds, 10 blocks for the Los Angeles Sparks. Leslie along with Swoopes is considered one of the pioneers of the WNBA. She is also a two time WNBA champion.
After Leslie, the fourth triple double went to the Deanna Nolan of the Detroit Shock. In 2005, Nolan recorded 11 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists against the Connecticut Sun. She is a three time WNBA champ winning the title with the Shock in 2003, 2006, and 2008.
The last player to have a triple double was Tameka Johnson in 2014. Johnson won a WNBA champion in 2009 with the Phoenix Mercury.
Of all the seven players to record triple doubles, three players were also named to the WNBA’s 20 at 20 which was unveiled earlier this season. Former players, Swoopes, Leslie, and Nolan were the three among the 20 to be named to this honorable list. The WNBA’s 20 at 20 was released in celebration to the league’s landmark 20th season and acknowledges the greatest and most influential players in its history.
About the Author:
Caroline Starr is a former Division I basketball player and a Division II basketball coach as well as a life long basketball fan. Her hope is that someday her words provide future college student-athletes little nuggets of knowledge to help them through their college athletics journey.