Las Vegas Aces forward A’ja Wilson had a night to remember on Tuesday, as she scored 53 points to tie the WNBA single-game scoring record in a 112-100 win over the Atlanta Dream. Wilson matched the feat achieved by her teammate Liz Cambage in 2018, when she was playing for the Dallas Wings.
Wilson was unstoppable from the start, scoring 18 points in the first quarter and 28 by halftime. She shot 16-of-23 from the field and 20-of-21 from the free throw line, while also grabbing seven rebounds and blocking four shots. She scored her 53rd point with 1:12 left in the game, drawing a foul and making both free throws. She then checked out of the game to a standing ovation from the crowd at Michelob ULTRA Arena.
Wilson’s performance was one of the most efficient in WNBA history, as she posted a true shooting percentage of 86.2%, the highest ever for a player with at least 50 points. She also became the first player to score at least 50 points and block at least four shots in a WNBA game.
Wilson, who won the league MVP award in 2020 and 2022, said she was motivated by the criticism she received after the Aces lost to the Seattle Storm in the Commissioner’s Cup Championship on Sunday. Wilson had 14 points and eight rebounds in that game, but shot just 5-of-19 from the field.
“I just wanted to come out here and prove myself,” Wilson said after Tuesday’s game. “I felt like I let my team down on Sunday, and I wanted to make up for it. I just played with a lot of passion and heart, and I’m glad we got the win.”
Wilson also credited her teammates for setting her up for success, especially point guard Chelsea Gray, who had 11 assists and eight points.
“Chelsea is amazing. She knows how to find me in the right spots, and she trusts me to make the shots,” Wilson said. “We have a great chemistry on the court, and I’m thankful to have her as my point guard.”
With her record-tying performance, Wilson further cemented her status as one of the best players in WNBA history. She is already a three-time All-Star, a two-time scoring champion, a two-time MVP, and a WNBA champion (2019). She is also the only player in WNBA history to average at least 20 points, eight rebounds, two blocks, and one steal per game for her career.
Wilson is also a leader off the court, as she is an advocate for social justice and mental health awareness. She has spoken openly about her struggles with depression and anxiety, and has used her platform to raise awareness and funds for various causes. She is also a co-founder of The Players’ Tribune’s Mental Health Awareness Month initiative, which aims to destigmatize mental health issues among athletes.
Wilson’s record-tying night was celebrated by many fans and peers on social media, including NBA star LeBron James, who tweeted his congratulations to her.
“Congrats @_ajawilson22!! Keep going Queen,” James wrote.
Wilson replied to James’ tweet with gratitude and admiration.
“Thank you so much!! You’re an inspiration to me,” Wilson wrote.