Oregon Ducks

Oregon Ducks

The No. 3 Oregon Ducks (25-2, 14-1 Pac-12) are preparing for one of their most important games of the season so far, on the road against No. 4 Stanford (24-3, 13-2 Pac-12) tonight at 6:00 p.m.

But some things are bigger than basketball.

Senior guard Sabrina Ionescu spoke at the Kobe and Gianna Bryant Memorial Service and gave an emotional speech about the impact they both had on her in the previous year.

355 miles north in Palo Alto, her Oregon teammates had her back all the way and watched the speech after shootaround wrapped.

Sabrina also got support from her former teammates, including Atlanta Dream guard Maite Cazorla.

Ionescu will play tonight at Stanford, just hours after the memorial service, to all-but-clinch the conference championship with a victory. 

The Bryants had gotten closer to Sabrina since they attended the Ducks game against USC last season and visited the team in the locker room following the game. Ionescu worked out with Kobe and Gianna twice this past summer, and both Sabrina and Kobe saw the same thing in Gianna: the future of women's basketball.

If I represented the present of the women's game, Gigi was the future and Kobe knew it. So we decided to build a future together.

 

[RELATED: What you need to know: No. 3 Oregon vs. No. 4 Stanford (round two)]