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WNBA Six Pack: Alyssa Thomas, Rhyne Howard, Aliyah Boston and others are breaking records

Diana Taurasi isn’t the WNBA’s only record breaker. Across the league, players are posting record-breaking performances, whether threatening all-time marks or establishing new personal bests. Here’s a look a six of those players.

Connecticut Sun v Atlanta Dream
Although nicknamed “The Engine,” the Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas is a triple-double machine.
Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

With Diana Taurasi on the precipice of the 10,000-point barrier, this Eastern Conference edition of “WNBA Six Pack” highlights the record-breaking efforts — whether all-time marks or new personal bests — from a player on each of the East’s six squads.

New York Liberty (19-6): A scoring Stew(ie) is brewing

When making a list of players who might break Diana Taurasi’s all-time points record, the name Breanna Stewart must feature prominently.

In the midst of her seventh WNBA season, Stewart has accumulated 4,318 total points. Through her first seven seasons, Taurasi had 4,731 points. While Stewie has more points to score this season, she’ll remain behind Taurasi’s pace. But the path for Stewart to catch up, barring injury and/or an early exit from the WNBA, is somewhat smooth.

By her seventh season, Taurasi’s most prolific scoring seasons were behind her; she topped out at 820 points in 2008. She also would have two seasons, 2012 and 2019, significantly cut short by injuries.

Stewart has never passed the 800-point mark in a single season, scoring 742 points in 2018 and 741 last season. Yet, this season is the WNBA’s first 40-game season and, presumably, future seasons will be at least 40 games, giving Stewart more scoring opportunities. The league also has entered a higher scoring era, with the spaced-out and sharp-shooting Liberty exemplifying the acceleration of offense. The number of Liberty franchise records that Stewart has established over the course of her first season in New York is evidence of the friendlier offensive environs. She’s also averaging the most points per game, currently at 23.2, she has in her career.

Although far from a sure thing, Stewie’s scoring chops, along with the evolution of WNBA basketball, gives her a good chance to threaten Dee’s all-time scoring title.

Up next: Friday, Aug. 4 at Minnesota Lynx (8 p.m. ET, ION); Sunday, Aug. 6 vs. New York (3 p.m. ET, ABC)

Connecticut Sun (18-7): Fully-engaged AT & DB

Already having excellent seasons, Alyssa Thomas and DeWanna seemingly were supercharged by their engagement, with both establishing new records over the four games since the announcement.

In the Sun’s win over the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday, Thomas compiled a history-making masterpiece. For the third time in her career, she recorded back-to-back triple-doubles, doing so with the first 20-point, 20-rebound and 10-assist game in league history. It also was the fastest triple-double in WNBA history, with Thomas securing the statistical feat before the end of the third quarter.

Thomas has five triple-doubles this season and nine in her career, both of which are the most in W history.

However, her partner has posted her own absurd performances. This past weekend, Bonner became the first player over age 35 to score 30 points in back-to-back games. She also is the first player in Sun franchise history to top the 30-point threshold in two-straight contests. Averaging 19.1 points on the season, Bonner has scored 24.5 points per game since the engagement.

Up next: Friday, Aug. 4 at Indiana Fever (7 p.m. ET, ION)

Atlanta Dream (14-11): Rhyne wants records

It was a great question from Meghan Hall and great answer from Rhyne Howard.

After Hall, who covers the Dream for The Atlanta Voice, asked the sophomore star about her hoped-for impact on the WNBA, Howard shared, “Obviously, you see people breaking records every day, and you always see ‘since Candace Parker.’ I want to have an impact like that.”

As demonstrated over the past week, Howard is well on her way to establishing herself as a standard bearer for future generations. In Sunday’s win over the Washington Mystics, she scored her 1,000-point, making her the fastest to reach that mark in Dream history. She also matched the great Chamique Holdsclaw as the 14th fastest player to score 1,000 points in WNBA history, with both doing so in 59 games.

Just two games prior, Howard swished her 150th career 3-pointer. Already the fastest to 100 3s in WNBA history, she’s now the fastest to 150. As evidenced by the fact that it took her 40 games to get to 100 3s and just 17 more to get to 150, she is picking up her record-breaking pace. Tuesday’s night’s struggle fest in a loss to the Aces in Las Vegas is a mere speed bump for a player whose versatile, modern skillset will allow her to keep blowing by historical benchmarks.

Up next: Thursday, Aug. 3 at Phoenix Mercury (10 p.m. ET, Prime Video); Sunday, Aug. 6 vs. Indiana Fever (3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3)

Washington Mystics (12-13): Personal bests for B. Sykes

Over at The Next, Jenn Hatfield recently profiled Brittney Sykes, highlighting how a player who was supposed to be (and still is) a defensive stopper has emerged as an integral offensive piece for the injury-plagued Mystics.

Let’s give Sykes a little more love.

She is not simply averaging career highs with 14.5 points, 3.5 free throws, 1.0 3-pointers and 2.2 steals per game, while approaching her career best marks with 3.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds, because she is playing more than 30 minutes per game for the first time in her career. Calculate her stats per 36 minutes and she still is exceeding previous bests across the board. In short, her productivity is not just the product of more opportunity; she is doing more within her increased offensive opportunity.

Critically, Sykes’ offensive growth has translated to better basketball for the Mystics. As our Josh Felton recently noted on Twitter/X, Sykes has been Washington’s most impactful player.

Up next: Friday, Aug. 4 vs. Los Angeles Sparks (7 p.m. ET, ION); Sunday, Aug. 6 vs. Los Angeles Sparks (3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3)

Chicago Sky (10-15): Seeing the Court

A look at the top of this season’s assist leaders includes a surprising name: Courtney Williams.

Williams is averaging 6.2 assists per game, the fourth highest in the league. In total, she’s dropped 154 dimes so far this season, which also puts her fourth overall and just behind the expected names of Alyssa Thomas, Courtney Vandersloot and Chelsea Gray.

In his recent updates on the Sky, Zachary Draves frequently has mentioned the importance of Williams' playmaking to Chicago’s offense. It’s worth further spotlighting her single-season transformation into one of the league’s more prolific passers.

Well established as midrange gunner who never has hesitated to stop and pop for a tough 2-pointer, Williams has subsumed her aggressive scoring mindset in favor of a measured offensive approach, more strategically reading the floor to find teammates for easier, efficient scoring opportunities. And when she does shoot, Williams more often has moved behind the arc, turning her long midrangers into 3-pointers, on which she shoots 40.9 percent.

Up next: Friday, Aug. 4 at Dallas Wings (8 p.m. ET, ION); Sunday, Aug. 6 at Dallas Wings (4 p.m. ET, ESPN 3)

Indiana Fever (6-19): The ever-efficient Aliyah

When detailing Aliyah Boston’s open-and-shut Rookie of the Year candidacy, I emphasized how her elite efficiency not only distinguishes her from her fellow 2023 rookies but also from some of the best rookies in WNBA history.

Well, she’s kept it up.

Among qualified players, Boston continues to lead the league in field goal percentage, converting 59.4 of her attempts. Because the majority of her shots come in the paint, one might contest the impressiveness of this feat. Yet, how often do young players, or players of all experience levels, rush a close-range shot attempt, frustratingly blowing a seeming bunny? Boston — as a rookie — operates with a rare competence and confidence around the basket, utilizing her elite footwork to finish ostensibly “easy” shots that tend to trouble others.

It’s safe to say that Boston’s name is going to be imprinted all over the WNBA record books by the time she’s done.

Up next: Friday, Aug. 4 vs. Connecticut Sun (7 p.m. ET, ION); Sunday, Aug. 6 at Atlanta Dream (3 p.m. ET, ESPN 3)