Solar Star Alyssa Thomas is Shining Brighter Than Ever This Season

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Alyssa Thomas is having a season like no different participant within the W. Two years after rupturing her Achilles tendon whereas taking part in abroad, the Connecticut Solar ahead is dominating each aspect of the sport and stuffing stat sheets on a nightly foundation. AT is averaging a career-high in factors (15.5), leads the League in rebounds (9.9) and ranks second in assists (7.9). 

“It was tremendous arduous,” Thomas, who’s in her tenth season, says about away from the sport. “That entire course of—that was my first main damage, which I wanted surgical procedure on. I used to be taking part in some actually nice basketball. There’s all the time that at the back of your thoughts that you just received’t be the identical participant…It was a really arduous restoration mentally and bodily for me.”

The stigma that comes with struggling an damage of that magnitude—whether or not she’d return to regular kind—crept at the back of her thoughts, however Thomas knew she couldn’t sulk regardless of feeling like she hit all-time low. Throughout that darkish interval, DeWanna Bonner, her All-Star teammate and fiancée, got here to her assist to let her know there was a light-weight on the finish of the tunnel. 

“She got here to see me after I had my surgical procedure, I hadn’t left my room and she or he wasn’t having it,” Thomas says with fun.” She made me come out of my room and took me out. From that second on, that jump-started me to getting my stuff collectively and attacking the rehab.”

On the eve of the playoffs, AT has a League-record 27 double-doubles and is the primary participant in WNBA historical past to steer the League in complete rebounds (394) and assists (316) in the identical season. Thomas additionally grew to become the primary participant to publish 25 factors, 10 rebounds, 10 assists and 5 steals in a recreation. She joined A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart within the MVP race. 

“It’s enormous,” she says of the popularity. “I feel that’s the best accolade you may get as an athlete on this sport. To your identify to go down as an MVP, that’s one thing that stands endlessly. With so many nice gamers which are taking part in now and have gone by way of this League to be an MVP, and [to] stand with all different MVPs—like I stated, the hugest honor you may accomplish.”

Thomas acknowledges that she likes to let her recreation do the speaking and doesn’t get caught up in all of the hoopla of the MVP race, rankings and championship favorites from outsiders. 

“For me, it’s quite a bit,” she says. “I’m not one which’s massive on social media and all the eye, so the truth that there’s one thing with individuals speaking concerning the race or interviews asking why you ought to be the MVP—I’m undoubtedly prepared for the MVP [talk to be over] so I can give attention to the playoffs.”

Regardless of being an MVP contender and main the No. 3-ranked Solar to a 27-13 common season report, Thomas feels she and the group have been missed all through the season. 

“Once you have a look at the preseason rankings, we have been nowhere close to the highest,” she says. “So many individuals talked about [the fact] that we misplaced [in the WNBA Finals] and kinda forgot about what we did have. We actually are a contender, and I don’t assume anybody’s been speaking about us.”

Whether or not she’s named MVP or not, AT has her sights set on one thing larger than particular person accolades: a WNBA championship. After falling brief in 2019 and final season, the do-it-all ahead is hungrier than ever and targeted on bringing the franchise its first-ever title come October. 

“The one factor about me is that my recreation is completely different,” she says. “I convey a unique look to the sport, but I’m taking part in arduous every recreation—the identical depth and vitality degree. The largest factor is I’ve by no means modified who I’m as a participant, made my type or how I play basketball match into this League. I feel that’s an enormous motive why I’m having a season that has by no means been seen earlier than.”


Photographs through Getty Photographs.





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