WNBA notebook: A’ja Wilson is having one of the greatest seasons we’ve ever seen

A’ja Wilson
Credit: Lucas Peltier-USA TODAY Sports

A’ja Wilson scored 28 points on Sunday as she led her Las Vegas Aces to a dominant 104-85 victory over the visiting Dallas Wings.

With those points, Wilson – now in her seventh professional season out of South Carolina – became the all-time leading scorer in franchise history for the Aces, which used to be the San Antonio Silver Stars before 2018.

It is of the opinion of Wilson’s head coach, Becky Hammon, that she is the best ever to play for this franchise, from its beginnings in San Antonio, to where it is now as the two-time reigning league champions in Las Vegas. And Hammon’s opinion carries quite a bit of weight, considering she played eight seasons for the Silver Stars, making three All-Star teams.

“I mean, just the greatest player to ever put on a Stars or Aces uniform,” Hammon said of Wilson on Sunday. “It’s not just what she’s doing for our franchise. It’s how she moves the needle across the world. She’s a special person, special player, so enjoy it because she’s a rarity.”

Becky Hammon on A’ja Wilson

While Wilson may already be the greatest player her franchise has ever seen, she’s putting together a season that is going to give credence to the argument that she’s one of the best players in the history of the WNBA. Her greatness is only beginning to be recognized on a national and international level.

Consider that Wilson is averaging 27 points per game through 20 contests this season – just past the midway point in the WNBA calendar. The single-season scoring record belongs to Diana Taurasi, who scored 25.29 points per game in 2006. Wilson is eclipsing that by nearly two points.

According to ESPN, Wilson’s total of 540 points scored this season is the most ever by one player through any span of 20 games.

Moreover, Wilson is scoring at an incredibly efficient rate, making 52.6 percent of her shots, which is 12th best in the league this season. Her current player efficiency rating of 35.26 this season is slightly better than Lauren Jackson’s mark in 2007 of 35.04.

Wilson isn’t just scoring at a high level – she’s also second in the WNBA in rebounding (10.9 boards per game), second in blocks (2.7), and sixth in steals (1.6). And, in addition to all that, she’s remained humble. On Sunday, she gave the credit to her franchise scoring record to the players that came before her.

“I have to always give it to the ones that laid the foundation before me,” Wilson said. “The ones that grinded it out. The ones that had to do extra just to get seen a little bit, to now we’re playing on national TV and charter flights. Thank you for passing that torch. We’re going to keep passing it and planting the seeds for the next generation.”

A’ja Wilson

Wilson already owns two WNBA championships, two league MVPs, two Defensive Player of the Year awards, three All-WNBA First Team selections, and six All-Star nods. She could add a second Olympic gold medal to her collection of accolades this summer before returning to the Aces in a pursuit of a three-peat.

If Wilson continues to score and win at this pace, fans will be throwing her name into debates about the greatest players of all time much more often, and deservedly so.

Related: 20 highest-paid WNBA players in 2024

Caitlin Clark coy about 3-point contest

Syndication: The Indianapolis Star
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Caitlin Clark will play in the WNBA All-Star game on July 20 in Phoenix, Arizona. The question now is, will one of the most entertaining sharpshooters participate in the 3-point shooting contest?

“Remains to be seen,” Clark said with a smirk when asked about it by reporters a few days ago. “We’ll see. I don’t know. I’m excited. I don’t know. I can’t give you guys every answer today.”

For the Indiana Fever this year in her rookie campaign, Clark is shooting 33.1 percent from behind the arc, but she’s sixth in the WNBA in 3-pointers made per game with 2.7.

Related: WNBA power rankings 2024: Caitlin Clark’s Indiana Fever move up, new team at No. 1

Angel Reese’s record

WNBA: Indiana Fever at Chicago Sky
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The Chicago Sky lost to the Seattle Storm on Sunday 84-71, but Sky rookie Angel Reese had 17 points and 14 rebounds, which extended her streak of consecutive games with a double-double to 13, breaking a mark set by Candace Parker over the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Reese’s consecutive double-doubles are the most by any player over any stretch of games.

For the Sky, Reese needs just 20 more offensive boards to own the franchise’s single-season offensive rebounding record, set by Sylvia Fowles in 2013.

“She might be surprising herself, but she’s not surprising me,” first-year Sky coach Theresa Weatherspoon said of Reese. “It’s something that she can do because it’s something that she puts the work in to be able to do. And it’s a will and want-to.”

Related: WNBA Rookie of the Year race 2024: Angel Reese vs Caitlin Clark in WNBA rookie rankings

Megan Gustafson makes Spain roster

WNBA: Seattle Storm at Phoenix Mercury
Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Aces forward Megan Gustafson will make her Olympic debut this summer in Paris, France when she suits up for the Spanish national team.

Gustafson was born in Wisconsin and was a star at the University of Iowa – leading the team to an Elite Eight appearance in 2019 – but went through the process of becoming a naturalized citizen of Spain earlier this year. Each Olympic women’s basketball team is allowed one player of the sort.

Gustafson, who has played in all 20 games for the Aces this season, averaging 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, could give a big boost to the Spaniards. The team also features former Atlanta Dream and University of Oregon guard Maite Cazorla.

–Mitchell Northam, Field Level Media

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