Early on Friday morning, Sabrina Ionescu once again did something no one in an Oregon uniform has ever done before.
Ionescu became the first player from Oregon to win the Naismith Trophy for the National Player of the Year.
The 🐐 keeps making history.— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) April 3, 2020
Sabrina Ionescu is the first Oregon player ever to win the Citizen Naismith Trophy, her FIFTH national player of the year award! 👑#GoDucks | @sabrina_i20 pic.twitter.com/Me9fsafYoM
The 2020 Naismith Trophy winner jumped on a video chat with CBS Sports and the Naismith presenters to accept the award.
This was truly a historic year for Ionescu: First player to reach 2,000+ points, 1,000+ assists and 1,000+ rebounds; NCAA leader in career triple-doubles (26); spoke at her dear friend Kobe Bryant’s memorial; completely changed the game of basketball forever…
When looking back on such a terrific season in Eugene, Ionescu listed these highlights specifically that stood out to her. Typical Ionescu, they are all team highlights, not individual.
- Beating Team USA. Who could have forgotten that? The Ducks defeated the best professional players in the country, 93-86 on their home court of Matthew Knight Arena back in early November. It was only an exhibition game, but it was a win that set the tone for the rest of the season.
- Beating Stanford. Not one, not two, but three times this season, the Ducks handled the Cardinal. Once at home, once on the road, and once in the Pac-12 Tournament Finals.
- Civil War champs. This was a first for the Kelly Graves - Sabrina Ionescu era who had never won in Corvallis. Oregon beat in-state rival Oregon State twice in Pac-12 conference play.
- Pac-12 Tournament Champs. Oregon took care of business during Pac-12 play and took care of business at the Pac-12 Tournament.
This team was different. It may have started with Ionescu, but the talent ran deep and will continue to do so for years to come.
When asked what Ionescu loved most about this special season and this special team, she had nothing but love for her teammates.
We were so close. Every single player loved every single player. We played for each other and I think going through those ups and downs of the year, we grew together. And so, being able to play alongside them was a blessing and it’s definitely the worst part not being able to play anymore is just not being able to play with them. — Sabrina Ionescu
"Couldn't have been able to do this without my coaches and teammates. This one's definitely special." - @OregonWBB star Sabrina Ionescu after winning the @NaismithTrophy Award for National Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/FHMFyDxkhR— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) April 3, 2020