Minnesota Lynx point guard Moriah Jefferson recorded the fourth triple-double of the 2022 WNBA season and third in the month of June alone on Tuesday night behind a 13-point, 10-rebound and 10-assist outing in a 92-64 win over the Dallas Wings -- Jefferson's former team, which cut her after the first game of the season.
Jefferson's feat was the first triple-double in the storied history of the Lynx franchise, which has won four WNBA titles, and the first for a WNBA player in her first season with a team.
In the process, Jefferson, who is 5-foot-6, became the second-shortest WNBA player to tally a triple-double, second only to Temeka Johnson (5-3) in 2014.
Jefferson said teammate Aerial Powers told her during a timeout with a few minutes remaining in the game that she was just three rebounds away from making history. Jefferson crashed the glass with purpose from there on out, hustling after the ball on a Dallas shot blocked by a teammate to notch her 10th and final rebound with 5.8 seconds left on the clock.
"We're really happy for her," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "It's awfully special for Mo. Obviously it's [against] her former team. There's some motivation there. ... The team's really, super excited for Moriah."
Jefferson, a four-time national champion at UConn and the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 WNBA draft, brushed off any suggestion that she was especially determined going up against her former team.
"I think for me it means the most that I did with the group that I did with," Jefferson said. "Basketball goes away, but the feeling that I had with my teammates, how excited they were for me, it felt like they were more excited for me than I was at the time. That's special and that's something that you're going to remember."
Shortly after being waived by Dallas in early May, Jefferson -- who had dealt with knee injuries at various points throughout her career -- was picked up by a Minnesota squad in desperate need of stability and leadership at the point guard spot. She has experienced a career renaissance in Minneapolis, as her 13.4 points per game there (on 46.8% field goal shooting, 50% from 3-point range) is her best scoring average since her rookie campaign, while she is also putting up a career-high 5.7 assists per game. Jefferson's 30 minutes per game are the second most of her career, behind only her rookie season (30.4), when she finished second in Rookie of the Year voting and was named to the All-Rookie Team.
"I think it's a little bit of everything," Jefferson said of how she has been able to thrive with the Lynx. "The [pick-and-roll-heavy] system that we're in, the way that the ball moves, everybody having each other's back. If I have a bad game, I know somebody else is gonna step up for me. And then the belief that my teammates and my coaching staff have in me is just a confidence-booster."
The 6-14 Lynx are still 11th in the WNBA standings after Tuesday's win, but behind much better basketball on both ends, they have now won three of their past four games. Their past four losses, including ones against the Las Vegas Aces, Seattle Storm and Chicago Sky, were by a combined 10 points.