If you’re familiar with the WNBA or women’s college basketball, you know the name Sabrina Ionescu. Ionescu came out of the University of Oregon in 2020 and was the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. Her first season with the Liberty was lackluster at best, but the sky is the limit for the 23-year-old point guard.
Sabrina Ionescu – Oregon
Sabrina Ionescu was phenomenal throughout her entire collegiate career. She put Oregon women’s basketball on the map because of her tremendous skill and strong work ethic. As soon as she stepped foot on campus, Ionescu made an impact in a big way. She was the Pac 12 Freshman of the Year in 2017. She averaged 14.6 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game.
In her second season, the conference accolades continued to fall into the arms of Sabrina Ionescu. She was named the Pac 12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Year. Ionescu also became the NCAA women’s basketball all-time leader in triple-doubles. After her junior season, Ionescu was presented with the John R. Wooden award which is given to the best female collegiate basketball athlete every year.
One season later, Ionescu became the only NCAA basketball player ever to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 1,000 assists in a collegiate career. Ionescu was the do-all point guard for the Ducks from 2017-2020. The 5’11” senior then entered the WNBA Draft and was selected first overall by the New York Liberty.
Sabrina Ionescu – New York Liberty Year One
Hype and Sabrina Ionescu go hand in hand. Liberty fans couldn’t have been more excited about the franchises selection when they took the Oregon graduate first overall. Ionescu’s ability gave her the chance to make an immediate impact in the WNBA.
Despite her potential, year one didn’t go the way Ionescu had hoped. The rookie only appeared in three games because an ankle injury ended her season early. In three games, she turned the ball over 13 times. This was the biggest red flag surrounding Ionescu coming out of college and it showed when the competition was heightened at the professional level.
Ionescu still provided a spark for the Liberty in her three appearances. On July 29, 2020, against the Dallas Wings, she dropped 33 points and shot over 50% from the field. Ionescu’s season ended a couple of days later against the Atlanta Dream when she sprained her ankle. In early November, the 23-year-old had minimally evasive surgery to repair damage from the injury.
There was a loose bone chip that was causing tendon irritation in her ankle. She will be ready to go in 2021 for her second WNBA season and made that clear in a recent quote.
This has made WNBA fans wonder how Sabrina Ionescu will fair in year two with the New York Liberty
Sabrina Ionescu – Looking Ahead to Year Two
Ionescu has all the potential to be the next great player in the WNBA. What she did at the University of Oregon was astounding. She had more talent coming out of college last year than countless stars in today’s WNBA. Ionescu was a collegiate basketball legend, but this isn’t college anymore. This is professional basketball.
Ionescu has the rare ability to make her teammates better when she is on the court. She can score on her own, but she is also a tremendous passer and isn’t afraid to crash the boards. Ionescu has grit and she’s willing to do whatever it takes to win. This is something you can’t teach any athlete across all sports.
As an Oregon Duck, Ionescu verified that she has a relentless work ethic. That will help as she rehabs her ankle in order to prepare for the start of the 2021 WNBA season. I think Ionescu is poised for a fantastic 2021 WNBA season. The thing to watch will be her ability to protect the basketball. If this improves, Ionescu will be one of the toughest athletes to contain throughout the entire WNBA.
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