The coronavirus pandemic has halted the sports world.

Seasons have been paused or postponed. The NCAA canceled the men's and women's tournaments. The 2020 NFL Draft now will be conducted remotely. The NHL is postponing its draft, combine and awards show.

The WNBA will be following the NFL's model, by holding its 2020 draft without players, guests or media, the league announced Thursday. The virtual draft still will happen on April 17 and can be seen live on ESPN 2 starting at 8 p.m. ET.

The New York Liberty will on the clock when the draft begins, but it's well known that they plan to take Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu with the No. 1 pick.

The Walnut Creek native had a prolific college career. She became the first player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. The Ducks legend returned to Oregon for her senior season to bring a title back to Eugene after Oregon lost in the 2019 Final Four to Baylor, a game in which Ionescu was held scoreless in the fourth quarter.

The unfinished business tour was ended abruptly by the coronavirus pandemic. A few days after the Ducks beat Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship Game, the NCAA announced it was canceling the tournament for public-health reasons, ending Ionescu's season and collegiate career before she was able to paint what surely would have been her masterpiece

"The Triple Double Queen" put Oregon basketball on the map and became the face of college basketball this season. She was unanimously named the AP Women's Player of the Year, the first player to do so since UConn's Breanna Stewart.


Ionescu is a force on the basketball court. Vision, handles, shooting, leadership -- she's the whole package and is destined to be the face of the WNBA and a basketball icon.

The 2020 WNBA Draft will be special for Ionescu for other reasons than her draft slot. The WNBA will honor Kobe Bryant's daughter Gianna, as well as Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, all three of whom were killed along with Bryant and five others in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

Ionescu and Bryant were close. She spoke at his public memorial and then flew back to the Bay and created the 2K-1K-1K club while leading the Ducks to a win over No. 7 Stanford.

Her play has drawn praise not only from Bryant, but also from Steph Curry -- who she texts for advice -- and LeBron James, who shouted out Ionescu after she became the NCAA's all-time triple-double leader.

She put Oregon women's hoops on the map and became one of the faces of basketball along the way. Ionescu knows how important she is to growing the women's game and to continuing Kobe and Gianna's legacy.

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That journey continues April 17 when she'll hear her name called as the newest face of the Liberty and the WNBA.