New York Liberty

Sabrina Ionescu sends inspiring message to young WNBA fan 

Sabrina Ionescu sends inspiring message to young WNBA fan 

Sabrina Ionescu is the kind of role model all young girls need.

The WNBA star, New York Liberty No. 1 pick, Oregon legend and NCAA triple-double queen is one of the most fiery and passionate basketball players on the planet.  

But when she’s not cookin’ triple doubles on the court and shutting down misogynistic trolls, Ionescu is serving up a message to young girls that women can play the game of basketball just as well as men. 

On Thursday, Twitter user @diandraann shared out a photo of her 7-year-old daughter Julisabel, who received a very special message from the G.O.A.T. herself.  

“Thank you for watching my first WNBA game! Like your mom said, you can do anything. I teamed up with Nike to send you some basketball gear so you can start playing the game just like me and my teammates. Enjoy!”

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Sabrina sent Julisabel more than a handwritten note, the WNBA superstar also delivered Nike gear and Liberty swag. 

Her mom replied with this response: “In a world full of people telling her she can’t, I’m so proud for the ones telling her she CAN. This is why the WNBA is so important.”

Many on Twitter were humbled by Ionescu’s inspirational gesture. 

The world truly needs more role models like Sabrina. Not all heroes wear capes. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent]

 

Former Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu to see specialist after suffering ankle injury

Former Ducks star Sabrina Ionescu to see specialist after suffering ankle injury

Sabrina Ionescu is officially leaving the Wubble. 

The Oregon superstar and New York Liberty No.1 pick will head back to the Big Apple to visit a foot and ankle specialist after suffering what was diagnosed as a Grade 3 ankle sprain against the Atlanta Dream on Friday. 

The Liberty confirmed the news Wednesday. 

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The injury occurred when Ionescu stepped on Betnijah Laney’s foot while bringing the ball up the court. The 22-year-old fell to the floor and had to be helped to the locker room. She was seen on crutches Sunday. 

[RELATED: Sabrina Ionescu helped off the court after ankle injury, X-rays negative]

By seeing a specialist outside the WNBA Bubble, Ionescu will be able to confirm the severity of the sprain. If it is indeed a Grade 3, the most serious type of ankle sprain, Ionescu’s rookie season is in jeopardy, considering the season is only 22 games long. A Grade 3 sprain can take several weeks to several months to heal. 

The injury certainly throws a wrench in the Ionescu’s ROY contention. After Ionescu shot just 4-of-17 from the field in her WNBA debut, she dropped 33 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists in the Liberty’s 93-80 loss to the Dallas Wings. 

In her first three appearances, Ionescu was averaging 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. 

The Liberty are currently 0-4 and in a rebuilding year with seven rookies on their 12-player roster. New York is not expected to make the postseason and will likely have six weeks remaining of their season.  

If or when Ionescu returns to the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, she’ll have to undergo the required 4-7 day quarantine period, as outlined by the coronavirus health and safety protocols. She’ll also have more rounds of COVID-19 testing to follow upon her arrival.

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Sabrina Ionescu helped off the court after ankle injury, X-rays negative

Sabrina Ionescu helped off the court after ankle injury, X-rays negative

Sabrina Ionescu was on a roll through her first two professional games in the WNBA.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA draft by the New York Liberty was proving to the rest of the league why she was selected No. 1 overall. 

Game one stats vs. Seattle Storm: 12 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Game two stats vs. Dallas Wings: 33 points, seven rebounds and seven assists (hit 6-for-10 from three-point range).

And then, just like that, the injury bug struck in her third game as Ionescu was dribbling up the court and her left ankle rolled on her opponent’s foot. She was helped off the court in the second quarter and hasn't to the game.

If you are squeamish, we suggest you look away.

UPDATE: The X-rays on Ionescu's left ankle came back negative without a sign of a fracture per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

LeBron James, who has been a supporter of Ionescu’s since her days at Oregon, sent his well-wishes on social media:

We will update this article as we find out more on Ionescu’s status.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

[Listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Josh Jamieson, Director of Operations of Oregon men’s basketball].

Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally face off for the first time in the WNBA on Wednesday

Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally face off for the first time in the WNBA on Wednesday

For the first time in their professional WNBA careers, Sabrina Ionescu and Satou Sabally will face off against one another.

No. 1 overall pick Ionescu and the New York Liberty take on No. 2 overall pick Sabally and the Dallas Wings at 5 p.m. (PT) on Wednesday night at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

The former Oregon Ducks are used to being on the same court together and in the same uniform, so Wednesday night will look at tad odd to the Oregon women’s basketball fan.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The 2020 WNBA Draft one-two punch made history as the next college team to do so since UConn’s trio (Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson, Morgan Tuck) was drafted 1-2-3 in 2016.

Ionescu’s WNBA debut was very Ionescu-like. She finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists against the Seattle Storm to tip-off the 2020 WNBA season. New York (0-1) lost to Seattle, 88-71.

Sabally’s debut was also very Sabally-eque. She finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five assists in Dallas’ (0-1) loss to the Atlanta Dream, 105-95. 

At Oregon, the two along with Ruthy Hebard (drafted No. 8 overall by the Chicago Sky), took the college basketball world by storm the three seasons they played together. Sabally is one year behind Ionescu and Hebard but declared for the WNBA draft following her junior year. The ‘Big 3’ led Oregon to a Pac-12 championship, Pac-12 Tournament title, two Elite 8’s and one Final Four appearance. 

I know a lot of people are gonna want to make a rivalry out of this. But that’s not the case. — Satou Sabally after practice on Monday.

Dani Bar-Lavi of Sports are from Venus spoke with Sabally following Monday’s practice:

Smiling, Satou Sabally summarized it well: “I’m gonna play for Dallas and she’s gonna play for New York, but we’re gonna play just as we’re playing otherwise: Hard, aggressive, and we’re gonna do our best.” 

Sabally paused, and added: “I am excited though, don’t get me wrong.” 

We are excited too.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon and NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz].

Different stage, same Sabrina: What to make of Sabrina Ionescu’s WNBA debut

Different stage, same Sabrina: What to make of Sabrina Ionescu’s WNBA debut

On Saturday, the 2020 WNBA season began with a G.O.A.T., a 16-year and 3x WNBA champion, and the return of the 2018 MVP.

No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu and the New York Liberty tipped off the season against Sue Bird, Breanna Stewart and Seattle Storm at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

With all eyes on how Ionescu’s game would translate to the next level, she didn’t disappoint.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The Liberty (0-1) fell to the Storm (1-0) 87-71 in the opening game of this 2020 WNBA season.

Here are a few takeaways from the G.O.A.T.’s WNBA debut:

Different stage, same Sabrina:

It didn’t take long for the G.O.A.T. to record her first points, her first assist and her first rebound in her WNBA debut.

Sure, she showed some first game jitters, but there were also a ton of glimpses of the Ionescu that Oregon fans knew all too well.

Ionescu finished with 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her debut.

Already showing that veteran leadership

You don’t have to be a veteran to lead.

Ionescu was a leader at Oregon all four seasons of her four-year career. She demeaned the best of herself and of her teammates. She talked the talk and walked the walk. That same leadership has translated to the professional stage.

Ionescu was mic’d up during her first WNBA game so those watching got a little taste of her influence and leadership. Before tip-off, during huddles and timeouts, Ionescu was vocal.

This is what she said during one of New York’s timeouts:

You’re letting them dictate what we do. We got to dictate what we want to do. — Sabrina Ionescu

That’s a rookie talking to a veteran.

Plus, she’s pretty funny.

A few adjustments to make:

Obviously, the WNBA is a different game than the collegiate level. There are certain adjustments Ionescu will learn and make throughout her rookie campaign. 

For example, as Ionescu was dribbling around Seattle’s Breanna Stewart, ‘Stewie’ reached around and poked the ball out.

Flashback: Stewart was not able to play for Team USA when the stars and stripes visited Oregon in an exhibition game back in November as she was nursing an Achilles injury. Ionescu wasn’t able to study how she plays defense or just how long she is. Stewie was able to poke the ball from behind Ionescu and get a break away lay-in. 

It is plays like this that Ionescu will recognize and make the proper adjustments.

Storm head coach Gary Kloppenburg mentioned trying to throw Ionescu off her game because he knew how dominant she can be:

That was part of our game plan to try and disrupt her. We know how good she is if you allow her to do what she wants coming off screen and rolls. We really wanted to target it her and get it out of her hands and try to force some turnovers. -- Coach Kloppenburg

Ionescu admitted that she was nervous heading into this one and it showed a little: she finished 0-for-8 from three-point range as well as turned the ball over four times.

But Oregon fans know all too well, that those jitters will fade very quickly. 

Up next: Ionescu and the Liberty (0-1) will face former Oregon teammate Satou Sabally and the Dallas Wings on July 29 at 5 PM (PT).

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Duck and 8-year NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz].

Sabrina Ionescu puts last season’s WNBA DPOY on skates

Sabrina Ionescu puts last season’s WNBA DPOY on skates

Sabrina Ionescu vs. the 2019 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year… who are you taking?

The No. 1 overall WNBA Draft pick made her professional debut on Saturday with the New York Liberty against the Seattle Storm.

With all eyes on how Ionescu’s game would translate to the next level, Duck fans were used to seeing this type of play from the G.O.A.T. in green and yellow.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

In the third quarter, Ionescu showed off her handles against the best defender of the 2019 WNBA season, Seattle’s Natasha Howard.

How fitting…

Ionescu recorded 12 points, six rebounds and four assists in her WNBA debut.

We are excited to see her professional career continue to grow and grow in the coming years.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Duck and 8-year NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz].

Sabrina Ionescu scores first career WNBA bucket in the most Sabrina way possible

Sabrina Ionescu scores first career WNBA bucket in the most Sabrina way possible

Oregon Duck fans and the college basketball world is used to seeing Sabrina Ionescu score.

It has been 476 days since Ionescu wrote a letter in The Players Tribune that ended with a promise that she would see the WNBA soon, just had to take care of some unfinished business and stayed one more year at Oregon.

Today, that promise has been fulfilled.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The No. 1 overall pick made her professional debut on Thursday with the New York Liberty to tip-off the 2020 WNBA season against Sue Bird and the Seattle Storm. 

It took just over five minutes for the G.O.A.T. to get her first professional bucket: a dribble-drive to the hoop, offensive rebound put-back. Absolutely fitting.

Here’s how social media reacted to the first of many points for Ionescu:

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Duck and 8-year NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz].

How to watch Sabrina Ionescu’s WNBA debut

How to watch Sabrina Ionescu’s WNBA debut

On April 6, 2019, Oregon women’s basketball junior Sabrina Ionescu wrote a letter to Ducks Nation via The Players Tribune.

All eyes were on Ionescu as she was making the biggest decision of her life: to stay one more year at Oregon or make her dreams come true and turn professional. She returned to Eugene, Oregon and re-wrote the history books during her senior season.

In that letter, Ionescu wrote: “And WNBA — I’ll see you soon. Real soon, I promise.”

That promise, 476 days later, is finally here.

Today, Ionescu makes her professional basketball debut with the New York Liberty against the Seattle Storm to officially open up the 2020 WNBA season.

[RELATED]: Sabrina Ionescu vs. Sue Bird is the perfect matchup to tip-off 2020 WNBA season

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

HOW TO WATCH:

Who: New York Liberty vs. Seattle Storm

When: 9 AM (PT); 12 PM (ET)

Where: IMG Academy, Bradenton, Florida

TV: ESPN

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Duck and 8-year NFL offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz].

Sabrina Ionescu’s sneaky way of seeing best friend Ruthy Hebard in the ‘wubble’

Sabrina Ionescu’s sneaky way of seeing best friend Ruthy Hebard in the ‘wubble’

Life in the ‘wubble’ hasn’t been so bad for the WNBA’s No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu.

Sure, it’s not the ideal professional debut for this basketball prodigy who took the sports world by storm during her highly successful and historic four-year run at the University of Oregon. But the triple-double queen will soon be unleashed when the WNBA resumes in nine days. 

One thing that hasn’t changed from life in the ‘wubble’ is her special friendship with former Oregon teammate Ruthy Hebard.

Bubble life hasn’t been too bad. It helps that Ruthy (Hebard) is in the hotel with me, so I see her around the pool or we have dinner together. We also practice at the same time so we put our waters so we can see each other. — Sabrina Ionescu 

For Oregon fans, this just melts your heart.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

The two were peas in a pod at Oregon. There was no Sabrina without Ruthy just as there was no Ruthy without Sabrina. They were the perfect compliment for one another. They were even one pick away from likely getting selected to the same WNBA team, which would have been the cherry on top. But Hebard was selected No. 8 overall by the Chicago Sky, one slot sooner than the New York Liberty’s second pick of the draft.

[RELATED]: Ruthy Hebard has her next Sabrina Ionescu in Chicago’s Courtney Vandersloot

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and Anthony Newman].

The other piece to the puzzle of success was Satou Sabally, who left Oregon following her junior season and was selected No. 2 overall by the Dallas Wings in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

I saw Satou (Sabally) for the first time the other day at the gym. She ran on the court and gave me a hug and then ran back out. It’s great that so many of my former teammates are playing in the pros. — Sabrina Ionescu

The days of the Sabrina, Ruthy and Satou effect are in the books and it will be odd to see these three all in different uniforms this WNBA season. But these top-10 draft picks will have instant impacts for their squads.

[RELATED]: 2020 WNBA schedule: Everything you need to know + key dates

DEBUTS:

Ionescu: New York Liberty vs. Seattle Storm on July 25 at 9 AM (PT)

Hebard: Chicago Sky vs. Las Vegas Aces on July 26 at 12 PM (PT)

Sabally: Dallas Wings vs. Atlanta Dream on July 26 at 2 PM (PT)

Also to watch:

(Ionescu vs. Sabally): New York Liberty vs. Dallas wings on July 29th at 5 PM (PT)

(Sabally vs. Hebard): Dallas Wings vs. Chicago Sky on August 4 at 3 PM (PT)

(Hebard vs. Ionescu): Chicago Sky vs. New York Liberty on August 20 at 4 PM (PT)

Read Ionescu’s full diary entry from the AP here.

Sabrina Ionescu channels inner Steph Curry with half-court shot + shimmy

Sabrina Ionescu channels inner Steph Curry with half-court shot + shimmy

Well, doesn’t this look awfully familiar.

Sabrina Ionescu is set to make her WNBA debut on Saturday, July 25 against the Seattle Storm to tip-off the 2020 WNBA season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.

All 12 teams are currently in the ‘wubble’ (WNBA bubble) and prepping for the regular season.

In one of the more highly anticipated professional debuts, a lot of eyes will be drawn to that first game on July 25 by those wanting to see how Ionescu’s game, after a very successful and historical collegiate career at Oregon, will translate to the WNBA. 

Looks like one part of her dynamic game hasn’t changed at all: her uncanny ability to drain half-court shots.

[Listen and download for free ‘Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football].

Hold up… was that a Steph Curry shimmy after the ball went in?

Looks familiar…

Well, it’s not all that surprising seeing that Ionescu and Curry are really good friends. Curry took his daughters to sit courtside when the Oregon Ducks faced the Cal Golden Bears last season in Pac-12 conference play. Ionescu recorded a triple-double that night. When the Golden State Warriors were in Portland, Oregon for the Western Conference Finals last season, Ionescu made sure to see Curry after the game. 

Oh, and then there was that time when Curry was trying to get Ionescu to sign with Under Armour after college, but she ended up signing with Nike.

These two Bay Area prodigies sure know how to make a splash (and shimmy).

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and former Oregon Track & Field star and Olympian Galen Rupp].