With the first-ever No.1 pick in franchise history, the New York Liberty selected University of Oregon guard, Sabrina Ionescu in the 2020 WNBA Draft.
“It’s a historic night for the New York Liberty,” said General Manager, Jonathan Kolb. “Sabrina is a generational player whose resume speaks for itself and we are thrilled to have her as our first-ever No.1 pick. We look forward to adding her to the Liberty family, as we work to reestablish ourselves as one of the top teams in the league for years to come.”
Ionescu (pronounced yo-NESS-coo) becomes just the ninth Duck in program history to be taken in the draft and the first to ever be drafted in the first round.
The 5-11 guard helped lead the Ducks to back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight during her freshman and sophomore years, the Final Four as a junior, and the Pac-12 Tournament Championship title in her senior campaign, which was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic. She is the program’s all-time leader in points, three-pointers, assists, triple-doubles and double-figure scoring games.
The Walnut Creek, California native amassed 2,562 points, 1,040 rebounds and 1,091 assists during her collegiate career, making her the only player in NCAA history—male or female—with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists. In her senior season, Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds per game. She also shot 45.5 percent from the field, 42.2 percent from three-point range, and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line during her career at Oregon.
Ionescu is the NCAA’s leader in career triple-doubles (26) and has a highly-decorated resume that includes, but is not limited to:
2020 Associated Press Women’s Basketball Player of the Year
2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy
Two-time Wade Trophy winner
Two-time Wooden Award winner
Three-time Nancy Lieberman Award winner
Three-time Pac-12 Player of the Year
The WNBA announced on April 3 that the 2020 training camp and regular season will be postponed as developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic. The league continues scenario-planning for new start dates and innovative formats.
Quotes from Sabrina Ionescu:
Q: With you coming into the WNBA, what part of your game are you looking to work on the most and what can the Liberty expect from you?
Sabrina Ionescu: I’m looking to do everything that I possibly can to get better in every aspect, whether that’s scoring, defending, rebounding, passing. I’m really just excited to be playing against professionals and learning from them and just seeing where that takes me.
Q: How do you think your game will translate in the WNBA, and to piggy-back off the last question, what do you think you can bring to the WNBA?
Ionescu: I just think being a part of a younger team and just trying to learn from them and seeing where I fit in, what role I’m gonna play is exciting and just bringing a competitive spirit that I have and just excited to get there and start working with the team and hopefully just continue to use my platform and what I did at Oregon and bring that in to the Liberty.
Q: What excites you most about joining the Liberty’s system, playing with guards like Asia Durr and Kia Nurse?
IONESCU: They have great guards there. Their ability to shoot and spread the floor out, but also run in transition. Walt (Liberty Head Coach Walt Hopkins) runs a great offense, and the pick-and-roll is something that I’m familiar with. Being able to enter an offense where it’s really similar to what I’ve been playing with the last four years is exciting. I’m excited to continue to grow my game in that aspect.
Q: Is it true that you’ve signed with Nike?
IONESCU: Yes, I have signed with Nike.
Q: What was your thought process heading into today with the draft being a little bit different?
IONESCU: Of course, it was different than what I had expected. Just excited to be able to be here with my family and the people closest to me and be able to spend this time. Really making the most out of what’s going on in today’s society. But really happy to spend this moment with them and it’s exciting to have gone through this process.
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