The 2023 WNBA season has been a remarkable period for record-breaking performances, made even more significant by the extension of the season. While these achievements highlight the phenomenal talent in the league, it’s important to contextualize them within the framework of the expanded schedule.
Breanna Stewart’s Scoring Feat
Breanna Stewart of the New York Liberty made headlines by breaking Diana Taurasi’s single-season scoring record. Stewart amassed 885 points, surpassing Taurasi’s 2006 record. Significantly, when Taurasi set her record, the WNBA played a 34-game regular season, compared to the 40-game schedule in 2023. Stewart’s accomplishment, therefore, comes in the context of a longer playing season, offering more opportunities to accumulate points.
Jewell Loyd’s Scoring Record
Seattle Storm’s Jewell Loyd set a new WNBA single-season scoring record with 939 points. Loyd achieved this remarkable feat over 38 games, leading the league in scoring with an average of 24.7 points per game, the second-highest average in WNBA history. This achievement underscores the impact of the extended season on record-setting opportunities.
Sabrina Ionescu’s Three-Pointers
New York Liberty’s Sabrina Ionescu made her mark by setting a WNBA single-season record with 128 three-pointers, eclipsing Diana Taurasi’s previous mark. Ionescu’s achievement highlights not just her exceptional skill but also the impact of more games in a season on such statistical accomplishments.
Other Notable Records
- The Connecticut Sun’s Alyssa Thomas posted a record six triple-doubles and broke the single-season record for total assists (316).
- The WNBA witnessed a record 13 triple-doubles, a significant increase from previous seasons.
- Diana Taurasi became the first WNBA player to score 10,000 career points.
- A’ja Wilson of the Las Vegas Aces became the fastest player to reach 3,500 points, 1,500 rebounds, and 300 blocks.
- Record Viewership: The 2023 regular season WNBA attracted 36 million unique viewers and averaged 505,000 viewers per game, signifying a 27% and 8% increase, respectively, from the previous year
Understanding New Context
What’s the reason behind this record-breaking spree? Is it a testament to the exceptional skill of current players compared to their predecessors, or is there more to be considered to understand the big picture?
The expansion of the WNBA season from 34 games in previous years to 40 games in 2023 has undoubtedly provided players with more opportunities to showcase their skills and break records. This expansion, while opening doors for new achievements, also necessitates a nuanced understanding of how these records compare to those set in shorter seasons.
As the WNBA continues to evolve and expand, the comparison of records across different seasons will remain a topic of interest and discussion. The 2023 season, however, will undoubtedly be remembered for its extraordinary performances and the remarkable athletes who continue to push the boundaries of the sport.