Sabrina Ionescu is not exactly a WNBA household name, but in time, she will be. The 23-year-old, who made her professional debut in 2020, is a player who has excelled at every level she has played at so far.
She attended the University of Oregon where she was a four-year starter for the Ducks, leading them to three NCAA tournaments, including the final four. She also became the youngest player in the WNBA to record a triple-double in May of 2021.
Ionescu was a four-year varsity basketball letter winner at Miramonte High School in Orinda, California. 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.
Sabrina Ionescu | Potential GOAT
She was the Most Valuable Player of 2016 McDonald’s All American Game, a McDonald’s All-American Team member in 2016, the California Gatorade Player-of-the-Year in 2016, and a member the 2013 USA Basketball Women’s U16 National Team.
Ionescu, a point guard, was drafted by the New York Liberty in 2020 after leading one of the most decorated careers in college basketball history.
During her time at Oregon, Ionescu became the first player in NCAA history, male or female, to amass 2,562 points, 1,040 rebounds and 1,091 assists. She also holds the record for the most triple-doubles in NCAA history across any level, men’s or women’s basketball, with 26 in her career.
Ionescu has played in three NCAA Tournaments, and she has led her team to the only Sweet 16’s and Elite Eight in the history of the University of Oregon.
Many analysts and sports journalists have argued that Ionescu is the greatest college basketball player of all time. Ionescu played at an astounding level at Oregon so consistently that her performance led her to become the first overall pick of the WNBA draft.
Before Ionescu, the Ducks had not made it to the NCAA Tournament in over 10 years. None of the women’s basketball greats like Sue Bird, Lisa Leslie, and Maya Moore, accomplished the awards and records that Ionescu did in college.
There is only one blip on Ionescu’s college record. In early 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournaments were canceled. Due to this unfortunate situation, Ionescu did not get a chance to complete her “checklist” by winning a college national title, despite having played in three.
In April of 2020, New York Liberty selected Ionescu in the first overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft. In her second WNBA game against the Dallas Wings, she recorded 33 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds in only 34 minutes of play. Since her WNBA debut, Ionescu has also become the youngest and fastest player in WNBA history to record a triple-double.
Unfortunately, Ionescu’s first WNBA season was cut short after two games due to a severe ankle sprain. However, after preparing and training for months to return, Ionescu has already made her mark on the 2021 season.
In the first game of the season, Liberty found themselves tied with Indiana with less than six seconds on the clock. In the very last play of the game, Ionescu scored a three-point buzzer-beater to give Liberty its first victory in nine months.
In 2020, New York finished their season at the bottom of the league with only two wins. But, with Ionescu back in the picture, things have taken a complete turn for the better in Brooklyn. The Liberty are currently at the top of the league with one of the best records in the WNBA, with their momentum showing no signs of slowing.
Sabrina Ionescu is a WNBA all-time great in the making. She has excelled at every level she has played at so far, with only one level left to dominate. Although her WNBA career got off to a rocky start, she is now healthy and ready to make up for lost time.
Her performance has made a huge difference in the performance of the New York Liberty in just a few weeks, and Ionescu’s career in the professional leagues is only beginning.
Great things are in store for the 23-year-old, and suffice it to say that the entire basketball world has its eye on Ionescu, watching and waiting for her to make her impact on the WNBA and the game.