Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ioenscu, No. 3 Oregon Ducks put on a show in front of Kobe Bryant, rout Long Beach State

Sabrina Ioenscu, No. 3 Oregon Ducks put on a show in front of Kobe Bryant, rout Long Beach State

It was more of the same Saturday afternoon for the No. 3 Oregon Ducks (8-1) who blew out Long Beach State (3-7) 81-45 in the Walter Pyramid. But this day, a special guest was in attendance.

5-time NBA Champion and Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

One GOAT had a front row seat to watch another GOAT. And the one that played put on a show, including a step back three pointer to end the first quarter.

This wasn’t the first time Kobe has watched Sabrina Ionescu play. He attended the Ducks' game last season at USC on January 11 and later broke down her game on his Detail series on ESPN+ near the end of last season.

She talked about how she was going to use those tips to enhance her game this season at Oregon football’s spring game last April.

Ionescu finished the game with 21 points, 19 in the first half, on 9-14 from the field. The all-time NCAA leader in triple doubles did get 12 rebounds but fell three assists short of adding to her record total. 

As for her teammates, freshman Jaz Shelley led the way with 17 points on 6-10 from the field including a career high five three pointers. 

The Ducks will continue their season against UC Riverside back in Eugene at 11:00am on Monday, December 16.

Even G.O.A.T.'s have birthdays. Happy Birthday, Sabrina Ionescu!

Even G.O.A.T.'s have birthdays. Happy Birthday, Sabrina Ionescu!

Back-to-back Pac-12 Player of the Year; All-Time leader in triple-doubles in the NCAA (men's or women's); Wade Trophy winner for Player of the Year; Wooden Trophy winner for Most Outstanding Player in Women's College Basketball; Nancy Lieberman Award winner (second straight season, nation's top point guard); seeking a Masters degree; twin; Nike jersey sold out within a day...

And she's not done yet.

In her final season at Oregon, Ionescu has the chance to become the first player in NCAA women's basketball history to reach 2,000+ career points, 1,000+ career assists and 1,000+ career rebounds. She has already checked career points off that list and recently became the Pac-12's assist leader (836 and counting).

Enjoy more fun facts about the G.O.A.T. in the video above!

Oregon WBB starts off signing week with No. 1 recruiting class in 2020

Oregon WBB starts off signing week with No. 1 recruiting class in 2020

The 2020 college basketball season is a year away but for the No. 1 Oregon women’s basketball team and high school seniors across the country, the future started on Wednesday.

The Ducks are probably used to the “No. 1” wording: the No. 1 ranking in the nation; the No. 1 player in the nation in Sabrina Ionescu; and now the No. 1 recruiting class for the 2020 season.

Yesterday, five of the top 33 players in high school hoops signed their National Letters of Intent to join Coach Kelly Graves and the Oregon program.

These players include: Sydney Parrish (a 6-foot, five-star shooting guard from Indiana); Kylee Watson (a 6-foot-3 five-star forward from New Jersey); Maddie Scherr (a 5-foot-11 five-star guard from Kentucky); Angela Dugalic (a 6-foot-4 five-star forward from Illinois); and Te-Hina Paopao (a 5-foot-9 five-star guard from California).

Not to be overlooked, Graves’ elite recruiting has an impact all over the country. Only Paopao is from the west coast. 

222 days ago when Ionescu wrote a letter to Ducks Nation in the Players’ Tribune, she stated that Oregon was building something special. Although Ducks fans are witnessing greatness from Ionescu and for just this final season, the program is sustaining itself for the post-Ionescu (and Ruthy Hebard) era. It just goes to show that she was right; that Oregon is a prestigious basketball program that isn’t run by just one individual. The Ducks have gone from under 1,000 fans attending their games in 2014 to now season tickets being limited ahead of the 2019 season.

The Oregon Ducks aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

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Sabrina Ionescu jerseys are here but already sold out

Sabrina Ionescu jerseys are here but already sold out

Oregon senior superstar Sabrina Ionescu is tearing up the record books and becoming a household name. Fresh off a Final Four run, Ionescu and the top-ranked Oregon women’s basketball team have their sights on winning it all this season and earning the program’s first national title. And now, Ducks fans can represent the “Triple-Double Queen.”

Well, once the number 20 jerseys are back in stock, that is.

On Monday afternoon, the Oregon Duck store released a “White Nike Replica Oregon #20 Basketball Jersey” for $75. As of Tuesday morning, the jerseys are sold out in every size. No word on when an official re-stock may happen.

Nike will begin to sell a number 20 Oregon college replica jersey in apple green later in the basketball season. The Duck store will also carry it.

The chance for Oregon fans to purchase the replica jerseys is a long time coming. Ionescu has made her opinion known on social media and fans began a petition to Nike in April.

Ionescu’s support worked and the female star tweeted her gratification.

Oregon’s next game is at home versus Utah State on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

Sue Bird: Sabrina's got the "stuff" you can't teach

Sue Bird: Sabrina's got the "stuff" you can't teach

“Ducks Nation — I’ll see you next year. Let’s see some packed houses. Kobe — I’ll see you next year, too. Hope you keep watching. And WNBA — I’ll see you soon. Real soon, I promise. Just have some business to take care of first.”

This was the message to Duck fans 218 days ago from Sabrina Ionescu.

The basketball phenom decided to forgo the 2019 WNBA Draft (as the projected No. 1 overall pick) and return to Oregon for her senior year.

That unfinished business? Perhaps a redemption tour all the way to the NCAA National Championship after a heartbreaking loss in the Final Four last year. But let’s not get too far ahead. 

It all started last night when the Ducks defeated Team USA 93-86 in an exhibition game at Matthew Knight Arena. 

Ionescu dropped 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds over the best in the world. In what felt like a ceremonial passing of the torch from “GOATS” Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi to the next generation of talent, Ionescu absolutely balled out in the spotlight.

From one G.O.A.T. to the next:

“My favorite part about her game right now is just her competitiveness,” said Bird on Ionescu. “She’s very relentless. Even when you think you have her stopped, she keeps coming at you. Those are things you can’t always teach. So as the year goes on, people are going to talk about ‘Can she shoot? Can she do this? Is she good enough for that?’ Who cares. If you’re competitive, that can overcome a lot. And for her, you can’t teach those things and she’s got them.”

High praise for Ionescu coming from one of the very best to ever play the game.

Ionescu and the Ducks have a big season ahead. A preseason No. 1 ranking, a roster loaded with talent from top to bottom, an established fan base and basketball culture in Eugene, and of course, a competitive nature.

The WNBA is waiting. The sponsors will come. A potential shoe deal? Why not! We all know just how dominant Ionescu is and a professional career will begin in due time. 

But for now, enjoy the ride.

“All that stuff will be waiting for her. It’s going to come eventually. She needs to just enjoy this ride,” said Bird. “She’s going to want to finish it right. Speaking from someone who won their senior year (UConn, 2001-02), there’s no better feeling than walking off the court a winner. You literally leave with no regrets. Hopefully she has that mindset.”

Oh, we think she does.

Diana Taurasi’s message to Oregon: Stay mad

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NBCSNW

Diana Taurasi’s message to Oregon: Stay mad

EUGENE, OR - It was a night showing off the world’s best vs. the nation’s best. Team USA vs. No. 1 Oregon women’s basketball and it did not disappoint.

In front of an 11,000+ crowd in Matthew Knight Arena, the best of the best was on full display in Team USA’s final stop of their training camp tour. 

In what many, including the Oregon players themselves, thought would be a competitive game but with USA eventually pulling away in the end quickly turned into a “what did we all just witness?” type of feel.

“I mean, we came into the game thinking we have a shot at this… yeah, we’re good but we’re staying humble about it and we know we’re not just going to come out there and beat them by 20,” said junior Satou Sabally following the game. “But I think every team has to go into every game very confident.”

“I think before the game and the week leading up to it, watching the other games, we knew they were the best team in the world, the best players in the world, so we were just going to try and stay within 20,” said senior Sabrina Ionescu, who recorded 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Confidence plus talent would do just that and more.

The Ducks went onto victory over Team USA, 93-86.

“As the game continued to go on, we kind of forgot who they were and what the expectations were of them beating us and we were just trying to play our game and play it to perfection,” Ionescu added.

This win wasn’t just like any other, even though it was over the best in the game. No, it all started with a mindset courtesy of Diana Taurasi, the 37-year-old basketball phenom with a killer bun. Before the game, the two teams had the opportunity to meet one another. During this time, Taurasi gave a little piece of advice to the No. 1 team in the nation: Stay mad.

Without knowing the exact context to what experience Taurasi was referencing, one can assume that the Ducks haven’t stopped thinking about last season. A first ever Final Four appearance that ended in a heartbreaking 72-67 loss to Baylor (who would go on to win the National Championship). The Ducks now enter the 2019-2020 season with a chip on their shoulder and a target on their back.

With a mindset of staying mad, drowning out the accolades or the rankings and the talent on the roster, this team is dangerous and it all started tonight.

Oregon's triple threat up for nation's most prestigious award

Oregon's triple threat up for nation's most prestigious award

The John R. Wooden Award is presented annually to the nation’s best collegiate basketball player.

No surprise here, three Oregon Ducks found their names on the list: the reigning 2019 Wooden Award winner Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally.

Ionescu enters her senior season with 1,984 career points, 792 assists and 756 rebounds, giving her the chance to become the first player in NCAA history to surpass 2,000 career points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds.

She is the projected No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

Hebard, the 6-foor-4 senior forward, led the nation at one point last season in field goal percentage. She eats it up on the offensive end while providing rim protection on the other. Hebard averaged 16.1 points and 9.1 rebounds while earning All-Pac-12 honors for the third straight season last year.

Sabally, the 6-foot-4 junior, will have the option to declare for the 2020 WNBA draft after this season and is projected as a top-5 selection of the draft. Sabally averaged 16.6 points per game on 50.5 percent shooting to with 6.2 rebounds per game during her sophomore season.

Only one other school has three players (like Oregon) to make the watch list: Baylor. The reigning 2019 National Champions and preseason No. 2 ranked Bears knocked off the Ducks last year in the Final Four.

Two other Pac-12 schools have two players on the list: No. 3 Stanford (DiJonai Carrington, Kiana Williams) and No. 7 Oregon State (Mikayla Pivec, Destiny Slocum).

Why does this matter? Eight of the 30 players listed can be found in the Pac-12 conference. Five of those eight can be found in the state of Oregon. The Civil War between Oregon and Oregon State has been and will continue to be just that… a war.

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Oregon Women's Basketball ready to start that Unfinished Business

Oregon Women's Basketball ready to start that Unfinished Business

New season, new uniforms, the highest preseason ranking in program history, greater expectations… it all starts soon for Oregon Women’s Basketball.

Just released today, for the first time in program history, the Ducks have earned the preseason No. 1 rank in the AP Poll. 

And with good reason. 

Just take a look at the roster alone, returning four of five starters from last season:

- Sabrina Ionescu for some “Unfinished Buisness”, who decided to return for her senior season at Oregon instead of declaring for the 2019 WNBA Draft (she was the projected No. 1 overall pick). Ionescu is coming off winning the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award, both recognizing the nation’s best player.

- Senior Ruthy Hebard, who was named to the Katrina McClain award watch list for the nation’s top power forward after winning the award last season. Hebard is also a projected top-10 pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

- Sophomore Satou Sabally, the projected No. 3 pick of the 2020 WNBA Draft and named to the preseason Cheryl Miller award watch list for the nation’s top small forward.

- Erin “Buckets” Boley, whose dynamic three-point shot percentage brings that deep threat presence for the Ducks; transfers Minyon Moore (USC) and Sedona Prince (Texas) bring experience, quickness and length; the defensive, cutthroat presence of sophomore Taylor Chavez; the leadership from Morgan Yaeger and Lydia Giomo; and then the talented fresh faces of their 2019 recruiting class.

"I think it validates our vision that we had going in here," coach Kelly Graves told the AP. "It validates the hard work from my staff that's been with me the whole journey. On this stage, we had a better opportunity to be in position we now are."

Also, Oregon has a huge opportunity hosting a scrimmage vs. Team USA on Saturday, November 9.

After reaching the program’s first Final Four appearance last season and a heartbreaking loss to the Baylor Bears (the defending champions and now preseason No. 2), the 2019-20 Ducks are back for some vengeance and it all begins on Monday, November 11 vs. Northeastern University.

Three takeaways from Oregon Women’s Basketball Pac-12 schedule

Three takeaways from Oregon Women’s Basketball Pac-12 schedule

Fresh off a Final Four run, the Oregon women’s basketball program is entering the 2019 season as a strong favorite to win the national title. The Ducks have elevated their standard and discarded its “newbie” title among the nation’s elite.

Now, there is only one thing left to do… Win it all. But first, Oregon has to take care of business in the Pac-12 Conference. On Thursday, the Pac-12 released its finalized regular season game times and TV networks. Here are three takeaways from the Ducks’ 2019-20 season schedule.

CIRCLE IN RED

Oregon will take on defending Pac-12 Tournament Champion Stanford twice this season, both broadcasted by ESPN. The battles between the Pac-12 Regular Season Champion Ducks and the Cardinal tip of on Jan. 16 in Eugene and at Feb. 24 at Stanford.

ALL EYES ON WOMEN’S HOOPS

For the first time, all 108 Pac-12 Conference matchups will be televised, 104 of which will air on Pac-12 Networks. Oregon’s games vs. Stanford and at Corvallis against rival Oregon State, who is coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, will be televised by ESPN on Jan. 26.

NON-CONFERENCE SLATE A GOOD TEST

Out of the Ducks' 12 total non-conference opponents, five were NCAA Tournament teams a year ago: UConn, Louisville, South Dakota State, Syracuse and Kansas State.

Oregon returns most of its team including rising stars Satou Sabally, Erin Boley, Nyara Sabally and a very-determined Sabrina Ionescu, who opted to stay at Oregon with one more accolade in mind; a national championship.

Three Ducks are projected to go in the first round of the 2020 WNBA draft, with Ionescu picked to be the No. 1 selection, according to ESPN.

But first, the back-to-back Pac-12 Conference regular season champions have unfinished business.

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

Ionescu's "freaking amazing" evening at the ESPYS

The 2019 ESPY Awards recognized athletic achievements from some of the most renowned athletes and entertainers including Oregon’s own triple-double queen Sabrina Ionescu.

Wooden Award winning Ionescu brought her twin brother, Eddy, and her parents to the award show on Wednesday night at The Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.

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‪Red carpet ready. #GoDucks ‬

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How would Eddy describe the night? A “freaking amazing” evening that was even more special because the Ionescus made it a family affair.

By the way, Eddy hopes to walk on the Ducks men’s basketball team this season. 

The Ducks women’s basketball star was nominated for two awards; Best Record-Breaking Performance and Best College Athlete against the likes of New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, high school track star Matthew Boling, Duke’s Zion Williamson, Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray and UCLA softball player Rachel Garcia.

Brees received the ESPY for best record-breaking performance for becoming the NFL's all-time leading passer. Williamson grabbed the title for best college athlete.

The Ionescus didn’t come back with hardware but did get to meet some iconic athletes at the star-studded affair. To name a few; Brees, retired basketball player Julius Erving. Houston Rockets’ PJ Tucker and Seattle Storm’s Breanna Stewart.