Ruthy Hebard

Walt Disney World would 'be happy' to host the WNBA season as well

Walt Disney World would 'be happy' to host the WNBA season as well

Sabrina Ionescu always produces magic on the court so it only makes sense she may make her professional debut next to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

According to Keith Smith of Yahoo! Sports, Walt Disney World would "be happy" to host the WNBA in addition to the remainder of the NBA season if the league wants.

"We'd be happy to host the WNBA here as well," a source told Smith. "We see this as an overall partnership with the entire NBA umbrella. We've been great partners for years, as seen with the NBA Experience at Disney Springs. This is an expansion of that."

Smith worked at Disney for 20 years before leaving to cover the NBA full-time.

The report comes hours after NBA spokesman Mike Bass announced that the NBA in congruence with the Player's Association have begun talks to play out the remainder of the season at Walt Disney Corporation's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida.

"The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said. "Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place."

On April 3, the WNBA season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no longer targeting to begin training camp on May 15.

"As developments continue to emerge around the COVID-19 pandemic, including the extension of the social distancing guidelines in the United States through April 30, the WNBA will postpone the start of its training camps and tip of the regular season originally scheduled for May 15," said WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert in a statement. "While the league continues to use this time to conduct scenario-planning regarding new start dates and innovative formats, our guiding principle will continue to be the health and safety of the players, fans and employees."

The league also held the 2020 WNBA Draft virtually which saw three Oregon Ducks go in the first round: Sabrina Ionescu (No. 1 to the New York Liberty), Satou Sabally (No. 2 to the Dallas Wings) and Ruthy Hebard (No. 8 to the Chicago Sky).

Additionally, Oregon State's Mikayla Pivec was selected by the Atlanta Dream with the first pick of the third round. 

Now, it appears like all four will make their respective WNBA debuts at Walt Disney World.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Ruthy Hebard’s mom still does her hair and that's the way Ruthy wants it

Ruthy Hebard’s mom still does her hair and that's the way Ruthy wants it

The day in the life of an athlete is no easy task. Waking up constantly before the sun, multiple workouts, practices, team meetings, studying endless hours of film, oh and trying to squeeze an education in there too. 

This was Ruthy Hebard’s life throughout her collegiate career at Oregon.

Her same work ethic has stemmed from her mom. Not her biological mom, but from the wife and husband who adopted Ruthy at just four days old from Chicago and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. This is Dorothy and John Hebard, and they are both white.

Family isn’t always defined by blood. 

At an early age, Ruthy was faced with a problem. 

“When you’re an eight-year-old black girl living in Fairbanks, Alaska, and the one thing you want more than anything else in the entire world is a head full of pretty braids, it can be… a problem,” said Hebard in a letter written to the Players’ Tribune on Friday, May 8.

Dorothy spent hours and hours studying film on braiding tutorials YouTube, just as Ruthy studied her basketball opponents. Dorothy found herself a coach and perfected her craft. Ruthy placed her trust in Oregon women’s basketball head coach Kelly Graves and by the time her collegiate career came to a close, led the nation in field goal percentage (68.5).

On this Mother’s Day weekend, the former Oregon basketball star now in the WNBA with Chicago Sky, dedicated this letter to her mom. 

“My dad was always the one who would be fired up and get on the refs for missed calls. And my mom? She wasn’t as intense, but her thing was always about me having fun. She’d always be checking in with me to make sure I was enjoying myself. Every time I’d look up into the stands, I’d always see her clapping and cheering. And any time I fell, or rolled my ankle and went down, by the time I gathered myself and looked up, she’d be on the court standing right above me.

It was always amazing to me — like she was a superhero or something. Like that was her thing. Her superpower was racing to help me if I needed her. And you know what, I was never embarrassed by that. Not even a little bit.

It always just reminded me of what a wonderful person she is, and just how much she loves me.”

You can read the full letter here.

Ruthy will now head back to the first city she ever lived in, given that it was only four days, to continue her basketball career. You better believe that if she ever needs a hair change up, she’ll be calling up her mom.

“To this day, when I’m with my mom, I won’t let anyone other than her do my hair. And no matter where I go, or what I do, or how much money I do or don’t have, I’m always going to have her be the one to do my hair, no matter what.”

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there!

Ruthy Hebard's WNBA success celebrated with car parade in Alaska

Ruthy Hebard's WNBA success celebrated with car parade in Alaska

On Friday night with the conclusion of the 2020 WNBA Draft, Ruthy Hebard joined an elite, small list of professional athletes from the state of Alaska. 

From one chilly city to the next, Hebard will be headed to the Chicago Sky after being selected with the No. 8 overall pick. 

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

The Fairbanks, Alaska community showed love and support for their hometown hero's success. 

Details of the parade are found below:

The Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year graduated from West Valley High School in 2016 and after four years became the Pac-12’s and Oregon’s all-time leader in career field-goal percentage (65.1), Oregon’s all-time leader in career field goals made (987) and the NCAA record-holder for consecutive field goals made (33).

The Ducks faced the University of Alaska in their first game of the 2018-2019 season. It was a homecoming celebration for Hebard that also ended in a 115-36 victory for Oregon. Hebard recorded 17 points.

The community of Eugene, Oregon, who saw three Ducks selected in the first round of the WNBA Draft, as well as the community of Fairbanks were both proud to see Hebard taken off the board and will eagerly wait for her WNBA debut.

Ruthy Hebard has her next Sabrina Ionescu in Chicago's Courtney Vandersloot

Ruthy Hebard has her next Sabrina Ionescu in Chicago's Courtney Vandersloot

With the 8th pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky select Ruthy Hebard, forward from the University of Oregon.

Although the stars didn’t quite align for a Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard reunion in New York, the Chicago Sky just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to select the Katrina McClain National Power Forward of the Year.

And with good reason! Hebard led the nation in field goal percentage last season (68.5) and was a force on both ends of the court. Against Team USA and some of the best players in the WNBA, Hebard recorded another double-double, something she did quite often at Oregon, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

The Sky finished fifth overall in 2019 with a 20-14 record and just missed out on the WNBA playoff semifinals. 

Hebard may not have Ionescu next season, but she just may have the next best thing: Courtney Vandersloot.

Vandersloot was coached by none other than head coach Kelly Graves during her collegiate career at Gonzaga. The 5-foot-8 nine-year veteran guard is an All-WNBA First Team member in 2019 and two-time WNBA All-Star (2019, 2011). 

She finished the 2019 season averaging a WNBA-record 9.1 assists in 33 games and just re-signed a multi-year contract to remain in Chicago.

To have the All-WNBA First Team point guard and MVP candidate coming back to lead our ball club is huge for us. Last season was an incredible season for her and the Sky, so we’re looking forward to Sloot leading us to achieve our goals this season. — Chicago head coach James Wade

The Vandersloot-Hebard connection will be one to watch next season. 

Ruthy Hebard selected No. 8 to the Chicago Sky in the 2020 WNBA Draft

Ruthy Hebard selected No. 8 to the Chicago Sky in the 2020 WNBA Draft

With the 8th pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft, the Chicago Sky selected Ruthy Hebard from the University of Oregon.

SENIOR YEAR STATS:

17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds, 68.5 field goal percentage (No. 1 in the nation).

6-foot-4 forward, Fairbanks, Alaska

The Katrina McClain award winner for the nation’s top forward is headed the Windy City. Good thing she's used to cold weather after growing up in Alaska and playing college basketball in Eugene.

QUICK GLIMPSE AT THE CHICAGO SKY:

The Sky returned to the postseason in 2019 after a two-season drought under new head coach James Wade. They made the second round of the postseason, losing to the Las Vegas Aces on the road on a buzzer-beater. 

Hebard will join former-Gonzaga guard Courtney Vandersloot who also played college basketball for Kelly Graves. 

Look out for Ruthy to run the pick-and-roll with Sky guard Diamond DeShields who averaged 15.3 points in her sophomore WNBA season, including averaging 24 points per game in the postseason. Her hot shooting should open up the paint for Hebard. 

More to come on how Hebard fits in the Sky's system later.

Why Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard being WNBA teammates is a strong possibility

Why Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard being WNBA teammates is a strong possibility

There is no Sabrina Ionescu without Ruthy Hebard.

There is no Ruthy Hebard without Sabrina Ionescu.

The two are like peanut butter and jelly. 

In their four years at Oregon, it has been the Ruthy and Sabrina show, teaching free pick-and-roll clinics to opponents and leading the Ducks to a potential National Championship, if the season wasn’t cut short. 

Now it’s time for their dreams of playing professionally to come true.

We are under 24 hours away from the 2020 WNBA Draft. 

The Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year Ruthy Hebard will wait to hear her name called along with the 36 other draft prospects, including Oregon's Satou Sabally and Sabrina Ionescu.

Oregon head coach Kelly Graves is excited for his team as well:

I think he’s more excited than any of us for the draft. It’s just fun. He’s been calling me since everything got cancelled. He’s just been saying ‘Oh my gosh, can’t wait to see where you go and you’re going to do great at the next level.’ Just having him there and having him so excited for me, Satou [Sabally] and Sab [Sabrina Ionescu] has just been great and a little extra energy right now. — Ruthy Hebard

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

Ahead of the draft, the New York Liberty made an interesting roster move. On Wednesday, the team announced a three-team deal trading veteran Tina Charles and acquiring two additional first round draft picks. The Liberty have the No. 1 overall pick (most likely will be Ionescu) and the other is No. 9, about where Ruthy Hebard has been landing in the recent mock drafts.

Will the stars align for Sabrina and Ruthy to be teammates in the WNBA?

I think about playing with her forever because she’s one of my favorites, best friends and such a good player. I’m just trying to keep everything open and just think wherever I go it’s going to be fun, I’m going to have a great time. It’s a great opportunity. Such a blessing to be drafted. — Ruthy Hebard

Whether the dream comes true of seeing these two on the same team in the WNBA, there is a long, promising career ahead for each of them individually.

But, we know what Eugene wants to see happen.

 

 

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

hebardmcclain.jpg
NBC Sports Northwest

Ruthy Hebard wins Katrina McClain Award for Power Forward of the Year

The postseason accolades keep raining in for the defending Pac-12 conference champion Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team.

For the second time in the past three seasons, Ruthy Hebard has been named the Katrina McClain Power Forward of the Year.

Hebard beat out Baylor's Lauren Cox, Florida State's Kiah Gillespie, Michigan's Naz Hillmon, and Princeton's Bella Alarie.

The 6-foor-4 senior from Fairbanks, Alaska averaged 17.3 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game during her senior season. She led the nation in field goal percentage (68.5) and is the NCAA record holder for consecutive field goals made with 33 in a row.

Hebard will finish a historical career in Eugene, Oregon as the No. 2 leading scorer (2,368 points), double-figure scoring games (123) and games played (144). The No. 1 leading scorer in Oregon women’s basketball history? Her counterpart and best friend, Sabrina Ionescu. The double-double machine (55 total, third in Oregon history) will also end her career No. 3 in Oregon history in rebounds (1,299).

Hebard first won the Katrina McClain award during her sophomore campaign, where she averaged 17.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. That 2017-18 season ended in a historic run to the Elite Eight.

Oregon's 'Big 3' of Ionescu, Hebard and Satou Sabally will wait to hear their names called during the 2020 WNBA Draft, coming up on April 17. Hebard has been projected somewhere between the No. 7 (Dallas) and No. 11 (Seattle) picks, according to the latest mock drafts. 

Here's how Sabrina Ionescu will be selected in the upcoming WNBA Draft

Here's how Sabrina Ionescu will be selected in the upcoming WNBA Draft

The WNBA Draft is going virtual.

The league announced Thursday morning the 2020 WNBA Draft will continue on as scheduled, but the previously scheduled in-person draft will now take part remotely without players, fans or media in attendance. 

https://twitter.com/WNBA/status/1243191410058289152?s=20

Does this mean we’ll get to see a hologram Sabrina Ionescu step on stage when the New York Liberty selects her as the No. 1 overall pick? It’s not likely, but if hologram Tupac can perform at Coachella, the sky is the limit.

According to a statement from WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert, the league will work with ESPN to “create a memorable but virtual event that appropriately honors these accomplished athletes.” 

This means players will not be allowed the tradition opportunity to hear their name called, walk across the stage and hold their new team’s jersey for the first time. The logistics of the draft night event are still being worked out, but it’s more than likely a player like Ionescu would videoconference in when her name is called.

In addition to the triple-double queen, Ionescu’s teammates Satou Sabally and Ruthy Hebard are also expected to be selected in the first round. Minyon Moore could hear her name called in a later round. 

The WNBA says it also plans to honor Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Gianna Bryant and Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed on Jan. 26 in a helicopter accident.

Ionescu spoke at Kobe and Gianna’s public memorial one month ago and shared what an impact her mentor and mentee had on her career. Just hours later, she became the first college player, male or female, to register 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 boards in her college career.

The virtual WNBA Draft will take place on April 17 at 5:00 p.m. PT on ESPN2. 

Oregon's Big 3 of Ionescu, Hebard and Sabally named USBWA All-Americans

Oregon's Big 3 of Ionescu, Hebard and Sabally named USBWA All-Americans

Four days after being named Associated Press All-Americans, Oregon's Big 3 of Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard, and Satou Sabally were named U.S. Basketball Writers Association All-Americans Monday morning.

The seniors were named to the First-Team while Sabally was on the Second-Team.

Ionescu was the lone repeat First-Team selection and made her third All-American team in her career. Hebard and Ionescu are both among the five finalists for the USBWA National Player of the Year with Sabrina Ionescu the overwhelming favorite to win after being chosen the Associated Press' National Player of the Year unanimously

Sabrina ended her college career the all-time leader in triple-doubles and the only player ever to record 2,000 career points, 1,000 career rebounds, and 1,000 career assists. She led the nation with a career-high 9.1 assists per game while averaging 17.5 points and a career-high 8.6 rebounds per game. Meanwhile, her partner-in-crime Ruthy Hebard ended her college career the all-time leader in field goal percentage in Pac-12 history (65.1%) and her 68.5% from her senior season led the nation. She averaged 17.3 points per game and a career-high 9.6 rebounds per game, top of the Pac-12 conference.

Other First-Team selections were Lauren Cox (Baylor), Rhyne Howard (Kentucky) and Megan Walker (UCONN).

Sabally averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds for the Ducks in her junior season and has decided to forgo her senior season to enter the WNBA Draft.

Ionescu is expected to be selected first overall by the New York Liberty while Sabally expects to go third to the Indiana Fever. Hebard also should be selected in the first round. 

Sabrina Ionescu is “one of the best PGs in the world,” according to NBA skills coach

Sabrina Ionescu is “one of the best PGs in the world,” according to NBA skills coach

The way Oregon basketball legends Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard run the pick and roll, it may seem like the two have been doing so since their first steps in diapers. The way they tore through opposing defenses, make defenders look silly, dropping dimes and making it look effortless...

They made it seem like this was as natural as breathing.

To get this good takes a tremendous amount of hard work, though.

Ionescu had no prior experience of running ball screens, even in her high school career at Miramonte HS in Orina, California where the Matadors posted a 119-9 record.

Ionescu told ESPN in their latest cover story on the Oregon star:

Coming into college, I never ran a ball screen in my life, and that's what our entire offense was. And so I had to learn how to use the ball screens and all the frustration that comes with that. — Sabrina Ionescu

Enter Hebard.

The two that taught a free pick and roll clinic game after game throughout their four-year careers at Oregon. It all made sense seeing that Ionescu lead the nation in assists per game (9.1) while Hebard lead the nation in field goal percentage (68.7). The Yin and Yang.

One of the things Ionescu has stated she will miss about Hebard is the pick and roll. Being able to read what the other will do without talking is something that was established early on between the two with lots of time and practice.

But, as their NCAA careers are now in the books, the two are headed for the WNBA. Will we one day see Ionescu and Hebard in the same jersey at the professional level? Duck fans can only dream of that, but that may not be the case for a while. 

Both are currently preparing for that next step amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Wednesday, NBA and WNBA skills coach Alex Bazzell, who has worked with Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Gigi Bryant, Candace Parker and many more, posted a workout video with Ionescu, running off ball screens and how to attack the defender.

For those of you wondering how Ionescu’s game will translate to the professional stage, this video brings to light how ready she is:

[RELATED]: Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu still expected to be top pick in WNBA Draft