Sabrina Ionescu will prepare for an emotional weekend as the No. 3 Oregon Ducks travel for the annual Bay Area road trip to play California and No. 4 Stanford.
The Walnut Creek, California native will play in the area she grew up for the final time as an Oregon Duck. Given the Golden Bears' last-place ranking in the conference, the game should not have the fantastic finish it did Ionescu's freshman season.
Then, the game against Stanford will be emotional for additional reasons. Earlier that day before the crucial game to all-but-wrap-up the Pac-12 regular-season title, Ionescu will attend a memorial service for Kobe Bryant in Los Angeles.
Kelly Graves said Sabrina Ionescu will attend the Kobe Bryant memorial service in Los Angeles on Monday before playing in No. 3 @OregonWBB’s key game at No. 4 Stanford that night.— Ryan Thorburn (@rgduckfootball) February 20, 2020
Ionescu had developed a close relationship with Bryant and his daughter Gianna over the past year, including practicing with Gianna's AAU team. The duo attended multiple Ducks games to see Ionescu play. Kobe even told the Ducks after their game against USC that it was his daughter's dream to play for Oregon.
The senior guard learned of the tragic passing of the Bryants just hours before playing Oregon State in Corvallis. She dedicated the rest of the season to Kobe after the game.
I mean, everything I do, I do it for him obviously. Really close friend and this season’s for him.
The Ducks will play the California Golden Bears on Friday at 6:00 p.m. before traveling to Palo Alto to play the No. 4 Stanford Cardinal at 6:00 p.m.