New York Liberty star Breanna Stewart has made history by becoming the first player in WNBA history to score 40 or more points in three games in a single season. Stewart achieved the feat on Sunday, when she scored 42 points, six rebounds and six assists in a 100-89 win over the Indiana Fever. The victory also secured the Liberty’s 24th win of the season, a franchise record.
Stewart’s sensational season
Stewart, who is in her sixth season in the WNBA, has been having a sensational year. She is averaging 23.4 points, 9.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, while shooting 51.8 percent from the field and 41.6 percent from three-point range. She is also leading the league in minutes played, with 35.6 per game.
Stewart’s 42-point performance on Sunday was her third 40-point game of the season, and the fourth of her career. She also scored 45 points against the Fever on May 21, and 43 points against the Phoenix Mercury on July 5. The only other players who have recorded three or more 40-point games in their WNBA careers are Diana Taurasi (four) and Maya Moore (three).
Stewart also tied the WNBA record for most points in a single playoff game last year, when she scored 42 points in a semifinal loss to the Seattle Storm. She won two championships and two Finals MVP awards with the Storm in 2018 and 2020, before joining the Liberty as a free agent this year.
Liberty clinch franchise record for wins
Stewart’s record-breaking performance helped the Liberty clinch their 24th win of the season, surpassing their previous best of 23 wins in 2010 and 2015. The Liberty have won six games in a row and 10 of their last 11, and are currently second in the Eastern Conference standings, behind the Connecticut Sun.
The Liberty have been one of the most improved teams in the league this year, after finishing last in the standings in 2020 with a 2-20 record. They have benefited from the additions of Stewart, Natasha Howard and Sabrina Ionescu, who have formed a formidable trio with veteran guard Betnijah Laney.
The Liberty have also been one of the most potent offensive teams in the league, averaging 86.7 points per game, second only to the Las Vegas Aces. They have also been prolific from beyond the arc, making a league-high 10.3 three-pointers per game at a 37.9 percent clip.
Fever fall to bottom of the standings
The Fever, on the other hand, have had a disappointing season, with only six wins and 24 losses so far. They have lost four games in a row and nine of their last 10, and are at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Fever have struggled on both ends of the floor, ranking last in the league in scoring (74.3 points per game) and second-last in defense (87.1 points allowed per game). They have also been plagued by injuries, with key players such as Kelsey Mitchell, Teaira McCowan and Victoria Vivians missing several games.
The Fever have had some bright spots, however, such as rookie guard Kysre Gondrezick, who scored a career-high 26 points on Sunday, and forward Jantel Lavender, who recorded her fifth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.
The Fever will try to end their season on a positive note, as they have four games left to play before the playoffs begin.