In the wake of Gophers sophomore center Amanda Zahui B.'s almost unfathomable 39-point, 29-rebound performance in Tuesday's victory over Iowa, two questions sprang to mind.
First: Is she currently the most dominant player in a Minnesota team sport? It's a tough question to answer, though I would say nobody on the Vikings, Twins, Wild, Timberwolves, nor on the Gophers football, men's basketball or men's hockey teams dominates the way Zahui does. Adrian Peterson would have held that distinction three years ago. Now? I'm not so sure.
Zahui's closest competition comes from the Lynx and Maya Moore, the 2014 WNBA MVP and a superstar about to enter her prime. Over the course of a season, take Moore. For one big game? Take Zahui.
Second: Where does that 39-point, 29-rebound masterpiece rank among the greatest individual efforts in recent (defined here as since 2000) Minnesota sports history?
It's up there. There is plenty of competition, but it's up there.
•Peterson's 296-yard rushing game against the Chargers in his rookie season of 2007 immediately makes the cut. Peterson still runs extremely hard, but as a rookie he ran with the type of relentless aggression that made you gasp after every play.
•The same year, Johan Santana pitched eight innings, allowed only two hits and zero walks while striking out 17. Anyone who watched that game was blown away by just how in control he was. His game score — a metric invented by stats analyst Bill James — was 95, the second-highest total in MLB that season.
•Wow, 2007 was really a good year. That was also when the Wild's Marian Gaborik scored five goals and added an assist in a 6-3 victory over the Rangers. At the time, Gaborik's five-goal game was the first in the NHL since 1996. The Wild has had many good players since Gaborik left, but perhaps none quite as dangerous in the offensive zone.
•The most natural comparison is Kevin Love's 31-point, 31-rebound game in a Wolves victory over the Knicks in 2010. Love was the first NBA player with a 30-30 game in nearly 30 years.
There are other games that could be listed, to be sure (send me an e-mail if you think of some particularly glaring oversights). The larger point is that Zahui's game belongs with these other greats … and she's the only one among these players you are still guaranteed to see playing in a Minnesota uniform going forward.