Sabrina Ionescu

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Sabrina Ionescu
20160330 MCDAAG Sabrina Ionescu MVP (2).JPG
Sabrina Ionescu as MVP of the 2016 McDonald's All-American Girls Game
No. 20 – Oregon Ducks
PositionPoint guard
LeaguePac-12 Conference
Personal information
Born (1997-12-06) December 6, 1997 (age 21)
Walnut Creek, California
NationalityAmerican & Romanian
Listed height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Career information
High schoolMiramonte (Orinda, California)
CollegeOregon (2016–present)
Career highlights and awards

Sabrina Ionescu (born December 6, 1997[1]) is an American basketball player with the University of Oregon Ducks women's basketball team. She is the all-time NCAA leader in career triple-doubles.

Early life[edit]

Ionescu is the daughter of Romanian immigrants. Her father, Dan Ionescu, fled Romania around the time of the 1989 revolution, seeking political asylum in the U.S. He hoped that his then-wife, Liliana Blaj, and their son Andrei could join them in a few months, but they were unable to come to the U.S. until 1995.[2] By that time, Dan owned a limousine service in Northern California, where he chose to settle because he had several extended family members in that area.[2] Sabrina was born 18 minutes before Edward ("Eddy"),[2][3] the latter of whom played basketball at City College of San Francisco[4] before transferring to Oregon, where he is hoping to walk on to the Ducks men's team in 2019–20.[2] She and Eddy were described in a 2019 ESPN story as "fairly fluent" in Romanian.[5][2]

In a 2019 interview for The Washington Post, Ionescu admitted to being a "natural scorer", but said that most of the rest of her skill set came from playing alongside both boys and older girls in her childhood:[6]

When I was younger, I was always playing with the guys, and I had to find ways to get the ball, because they never wanted to pass to me. So I figured that if I could rebound, I would be able to get the ball myself. Then passing-wise, when I was in sixth grade playing with the eighth-grade team, I was obviously a lot shorter, skinnier, smaller than they were. I would just have to find ways to impact the game other than shooting or scoring, and that was passing.

Ionescu attended a middle school that did not have enough players to field a girls' team, and her school refused to allow her to play on the boys' team. In the aforementioned Washington Post interview, she recalled, "My middle school said I should be playing with dolls. Seriously, word-for-word." She responded by recruiting enough girls to enable her school to field a team.[6]

High school[edit]

Ionescu was four-year varsity basketball letter winner at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California under head coach Kelly Sopak.

As a freshman in 2012-13, started in 14 of 29 games and averaged 13.8 ppg., 3.9 apg. and 3.9 spg. to help her team to a 27-3 record and a Northern California Section Division II runner-up finish.

As a sophomore in 2013-14, helped her team to a 30-2 record.[4]

During her junior year she averaged 18.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 4.7 steals per game, helping Miramonte HS to a 30-2 record and an appearance in the CIF open division semifinals.

In her senior year, she led Miramonte to the CIF open division title game after averaging 25.3 points, 8.8 assists, 7.6 rebounds, 4.5 steals and 1.3 blocks per game. She posted a triple-double in the championship game loss to Chaminade with 24 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Ionescu also made a first half buzzer beating half court shot. She received national honors including the USA Today Girls Basketball Player of the Year, Max Preps Player of the Year, and Gatorade State Player of the Year. Ionescu was named a McDonald's All-America and Jordan Brand All-American selection. She named the McDonald's All-America game MVP after scoring a record 25 points, including seven three-pointers, with 10 rebounds. Left Miramonte with a career win loss record of 119-9 and a school record 2606 points scored. She is also the all-time leader in assists 769, steals 549 and Triple Doubles 21. In addition to the career record Ionescu also holds the Miramonte top three single season scoring records with 598 (2013–14), 760 (2014–15) and 834 (2015–16). Ionescu also holds the single game scoring record of 43 points vs. Pinewood High School while being double and triple teamed and the single game record in Assists with 19 at Dublin High School.

Ionescu was a consensus top-five prospect in the recruiting class of 2016. According to Ava Wallace, the author of the aforementioned Washington Post story, Ionescu chose Oregon "because she wanted to be the all-American at Oregon, not just an all-American somewhere else." At the time, she was the highest-ranked recruit ever to commit to Oregon basketball.[6]

University of Oregon[edit]

Freshman year[edit]

As a freshman, she was named the 2017 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year as voted on by league coaches. Her Freshman of the Year honor was the first Oregon Duck since 1999 and is the second Duck to earn the honor all-time. Ionescu has recorded four triple-doubles, one shy of the Pac-12 record and two less than the NCAA record. She averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists per game, rank second on the team in scoring and rebounding, and first in assists. She also posted seven double-doubles, ranked third in the Pac-12 and 29th in the NCAA with 183 assists on the year. Her 1.93-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio was second-best in the Pac-12. She has been named Pac-12 Freshman of Week four times and was named USBWA National Player of the Week. Additionally, she was awarded the USBWA National Freshman of the Year as the top freshman in the nation.[7]

Sophomore year[edit]

On February 26, 2018, Ionescu was named espnW's college basketball player of the week.[8] Ionescu led the Ducks to their third regular-season league crown all-time and first-ever No. 1 seed in the Pac-12 Women’s Basketball Tournament. She led the Pac-12 in scoring (19.2) and assists, dishing out 7.8 assists per game which was fifth-most in the country. She had 16 double-doubles this season and 14 20-point games. She has recorded 10-assist games 13 times this season, handing out a league season-high 14 twice. Following her second season, she was named the Pac-12 Conference Women's Basketball Player of the Year, and was also named a first team All-American by ESPN. Ionescu's Oregon Ducks also won the Pac-12 championship for the first time since 2000. She was named the winner of the Nancy Lieberman Award as the top Division I women's point guard after the season,[9] and was also a finalist for the Naismith Award.[10] Ionescu is the NCAA's all-time women's leader in triple-doubles,[11] trailing only former BYU men's player Kyle Collinsworth (with 12) among all NCAA players.[12]

In late April 2018, Ionescu and Oregon teammates Erin Boley, Otiona Gildon, and Ruthy Hebard entered the USA Basketball women's national 3x3 championship tournament at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.[13] Ionescu had never before played under FIBA 3x3 rules, admitting after the tournament, "I had to ask the rules before the games started."[14] She adjusted quickly to the unfamiliar format, leading her team to the championship while going unbeaten and also being named tournament MVP.[13] Ionescu and her Oregon teammates would be named as the US team for the 2018 3x3 World Cup to be held in June in the Philippines.[15] At the World Cup, they were the youngest team in the field, but swept their pool, defeating Cup holders Russia along the way.[16] Later in 2018, Ionescu did her 13th career triple-double, making her the all-time NCAA triple-double leader for men and women.[17]

Junior year[edit]

On November 6, 2018, Ionescu recorded her 11th triple-double in a victory against Alaska-Fairbanks.[18] Twelve days later, she would tie the NCAA Triple-double record, with her 12th triple double in a win against Buffalo.[19] After winning against Mississippi State and winning the ESPNW Player of the Week award,[20] she broke the NCAA Triple-double record against Air Force.[21] Since that game on December 20, 2018, Ionescu has added two more triple-doubles and has broken the Oregon women's basketball assist record (formerly 608 assists) in a Pac-12 conference game against USC.[22] In the 2019 NCAA March Madness Tournament, Ionescu leads the Ducks to their first Final Four appearance after their victory over Mississippi State.[23] During the NCAA Tournament, Ionescu led the Ducks to the Final Four where they lost to Baylor. After the conclusion of the season, Ionescu was named the 2019 John R. Wooden Award winner along with Duke's Zion Williamson, the award is given annually to the most outstanding male and female collegiate basketball player that year.

Impact at Oregon[edit]

According to Ducks coach Kelly Graves, Ionescu has "a chance to be a Marcus Mariota, that level of player and an esteemed Oregon Duck when it’s all said and done." He noted that attendance at Oregon women's games has dramatically increased during Ionescu's career at the school. In the season before she arrived, the average announced home attendance for the Ducks was 1,501. Her sophomore season saw an average attendance of over 4,200, and through the first 12 home games of her junior season, attendance was averaging over 6,500. Ionescu is also a significant draw when Oregon goes on the road; for example, when the Ducks visited Washington during her junior season, the crowd for that game was 3,000 more than the Huskies drew two nights earlier against Oregon State.[6]

WNBA prospects[edit]

Because Ionescu will turn 22 in December 2019, she was eligible to declare for the 2019 WNBA draft. A January 2019 mock draft by ESPN, incorporating input from WNBA personnel and ESPN women's basketball analysts, concluded that Ionescu was a possible top pick should she declare.[24] However, she announced in an open letter published in The Players' Tribune on April 6, the day after Oregon's loss to Baylor in the Final Four and four days before the draft, that she would return to Oregon for her senior season.[25]

Career statistics[edit]

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game  RPG  Rebounds per game
 APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game  BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game
 TO  Turnovers per game  FG%  Field-goal percentage  3P%  3-point field-goal percentage  FT%  Free-throw percentage
 Bold  Career high League leader

College[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG TO PPG
2016–17 Oregon 33 33 32.9 .390 .420 .825 6.6 5.5 1.3 .2 2.9 14.6
2017–18 Oregon 38 38 35.6 .468 .438 .805 6.7 7.8 1.7 .3 3.0 19.7
2018–19 Oregon 38 38 35.9 .443 .429 .883 7.4 8.2 1.3 .2 2.5 19.9

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FIBA Players Archive: search for "Ionescu"". FIBA. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e Merrill, Elizabeth (March 22, 2019). "Sabrina's Obsession". ESPN.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
  3. ^ "Bio: Sabrina Ionescu". Oregon Ducks. Retrieved March 16, 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Sabrina Ionescu". USA Basketball. Retrieved July 7, 2014.
  5. ^ FitzGerald, Tom (January 5, 2017). "Miramonte alum Sabrina Ionescu returns to Bay Area with Oregon". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d Wallace, Ava (February 4, 2019). "Her middle school said to play with dolls. She set an NCAA triple-double record instead". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "USBWA PRESENTS 2016-17 WOMEN'S HONORS". USBWA. March 31, 2017. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  8. ^ "Oregon Ducks' Sabrina Ionescu is espnW's player of the week". ESPN.com. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  9. ^ "Ducks' Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard among position award winners". ESPN.com. March 30, 2018. Retrieved March 30, 2018.
  10. ^ Greif, Andrew (March 12, 2018). "Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu, Oregon State's Marie Gulich named ESPN All-Americans". OregonLive.com. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  11. ^ Medow, Shawn (March 12, 2018). ""Triple-double queen" Sabrina Ionescu thrives on competition, looks to tackle Final Four expectations". Daily Emerald. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Career Records: Triple-Doubles" (PDF). 2017–18 Division I Men's Basketball Records. NCAA. p. 28. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  13. ^ a b "Oregon Ducks Take USA Basketball Women's 3x3 National Championship Title" (Press release). USA Basketball. April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  14. ^ "Sabrina Ionescu leads Oregon to USA 3-on-3 national championship". ESPN.com. Associated Press. April 22, 2018. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
  15. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (May 17, 2018). "Oregon players to represent U.S. in FIBA 3x3 World Cup". ESPN.com. Retrieved May 18, 2018.
  16. ^ "Don't call them kids - they just swept their pool at the FIBA 3x3 World Cup 2018". FIBA. June 11, 2018. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  17. ^ espnWVerified account (2009-07-16). "espnW on Twitter: "Oregon's @sabrina_i20 messed around and got her 13th career triple-double. She is now the all-time NCAA triple-double leader for both men and women". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2018-12-23.
  18. ^ "Oregon vs. Alaska Fairbanks - Game Summary - November 6, 2018 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  19. ^ "Buffalo vs. Oregon - Game Summary - November 18, 2018 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  20. ^ "Oregon's Ionescu is espnW's player of the week". ESPN.com. 2018-12-24. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  21. ^ "Air Force vs. Oregon - Game Summary - December 20, 2018 - ESPN". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  22. ^ Webster, Sierra. "Sabrina Ionescu breaks Oregon assist record in blowout of USC". Daily Emerald. Retrieved 2019-01-15.
  23. ^ Pelton, Kevin. "Sabrina Ionescu powers Oregon to its first Women's Final Four". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2019-03-31.
  24. ^ Voepel, Mechelle (January 30, 2019). "WNBA mock draft 2019: Predicting all three rounds". ESPN.com. Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  25. ^ Ionescu, Sabrina (April 6, 2019). "A Letter to Ducks Nation". The Players' Tribune. Retrieved April 6, 2019.

External links[edit]