WNBA teams are scoring at near record levels thanks in strong part to a quicker pace of play and some impressive individual efforts.
Teams are averaging 82.6 points a game this season, just a shade under the full-season record set in 2018 of 82.8. During the bubble season in 2020 each team played just 22 games but the league scoring average was 83 points.
All of those totals are up about seven points a game from a decade ago.
“There are more possessions now for teams,” Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammon said. “That leads to more scoring.”
Hammon’s team is leading the league averaging 94.0 points — 0.1 more than the 2010 Phoenix Mercury, who hold the record.
There have been several impressive individual efforts. New York’s Breanna Stewart already has scored 40 or more points in three games; it’s the first time anyone has accomplished that feat in the same season.
Stewart is not the only one putting up big numbers. There have been 10 40-point games this season and most teams have at least 10 games left so that number could rise.
“You see a lot of 40-point games this year, and I think that we’re just continuing to get eyes on women’s basketball,” Stewart said after scoring 42 on Sunday against Indiana.
There had been only 15 40-point games in the league’s history coming into this season.
Players are also being efficient with their scoring too. Stewart only took 23 shots on Sunday against the Fever. She only took 21 when she had a career-high 45 points in her New York home debut and 20 when she dropped 43 against Phoenix.
Stewart joined elite company with the scoring outbursts. Diana Taurasi (four times) and Maya Moore (three times) are the only other players to have reached the 40-point plateau that many times in their careers.
Las Vegas forward A’ja Wilson might reach that number soon herself. She had a career-best 40-point effort last week — without making a 3-pointer. Something that no other player has ever done.
It’s not just individual and team scoring that’s up. There have been nine triple-doubles this season. Combined with the four that occurred last season and half the 26 that have been recorded in the league’s history have been posted in the last two years.
AP WNBA POLL
Las Vegas still leads the way with New York right behind the Aces once again. Connecticut, Dallas and Minnesota were the next three. Washington, Los Angeles and Chicago followed the Lynx. Seattle, Phoenix and Indiana round out the poll.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Wilson had another strong week averaging 29.7 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals to help Las Vegas win all three of its games. Other players receiving votes included Stewart and Nneka Ogwumike of Los Angeles.
GAME OF THE WEEK
New York at Las Vegas, Thursday. The two teams play against each other for the Commissioner’s Cup title on Tuesday and then again in a regular season matchup Thursday. Each team has won on its home court. The teams will meet for a final time in the regular season on Aug. 28 in New York.
AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball