The new face of the WNBA is getting some well wishes from the current face of the NBA.
New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu, the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s WNBA Draft, went down with a scary-looking ankle injury during Friday’s game against the Atlanta Dream. She had to be helped off the court and did not return to the game.
The 22-year-old Ionescu was selected by the Liberty after a standout four-year career at the University of Oregon. She entered play Friday averaging 22.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game in her first two contests.
Sabrina Ionescu had a pretty incredible day on Monday.
The Oregon Ducks senior was one of a handful of few people who had the honor of speaking at the memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant at Staples Center in Los Angeles. She delivered a moving speech and talked about her relationship with the Bryants, and about how she wanted herself and others to follow Kobe’s lead in pushing forward women’s basketball.
Later that evening, Ionescu was in Palo Alto for her No. 3 Ducks’ huge game against the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal.
Ionescu entered the game nine rebounds shy of 1,000 for her college career. She achieved that mark in the third quarter, which made her the first Division 1 player (men’s or women’s) to amass 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 career assists.
Ionescu finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in Oregon’s 74-66 win over Stanford.
“Being able to speak was such an honor for me,” Ionescu said in a postgame interview with ESPN. “[Reaching the milestone] was for [Kobe]. We had talked about it in the preseason. I can’t really put that into words. He’s looking down and really proud of me.”
Here was her touching speech at the memorial earlier in the day:
Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu is a triple-double machine, but by her own admission, she had to give herself a bit of extra help in collecting one Sunday.
With about two and a half minutes left in Sunday’s second-round game against Indiana, Ionescu needed one rebound to finish off her 18th career triple-double. She missed a three, but grabbed her own rebound to make sure she got there.
After the game, she admitted that she put a little extra spin on the shot to try to force the miss and give herself a chance at the rebound.
Ionescu finished the game with 29 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds. Her 18 triple doubles are the overall NCAA record for a career, and she’s only a junior. There’s no harm in a little bit of gamesmanship and stat-padding to finish off No. 18. Ricky Davis would be proud.