When Sabrina Ionescu announced after last season’s Final Four that she would return to the University of Oregon for her senior season, fans of women’s college basketball got giddy.
That meant more neck-breaking assists, more silky three-pointers, more cold-blooded clutch moments and more viral highlights from the Ducks’ star in the 2019-20 season.
The 21-year-old Ionescu is one of the most electric players in all of basketball, the epitome of can’t-miss and must-watch. She’s a two-time Nancy Lieberman Award winner, a two-time Pac-12 Player of the Year, the winner of the Wooden and Wade awards, and already the NCAA’s all-time leader in career triple-doubles. And she’s a near-lock to be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.
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But before then, Ionescu has one more season to play at Oregon. Last year, the Ducks came up just short of winning it all, losing in the Final Four to eventual champion Baylor. This season, Ionescu and the Ducks have their sights set on New Orleans and getting back to the biggest stage in the sport.
All season long, we’ll be cataloging Ionescu’s best moments on this here “Sabrina Tracker.” We’ll keep you updated with her stats, her highlights, her records and her viral moments.
Where we left off: 2018-19
Nov. 18, 2018: Ionescu connected on one shot from the floor as Oregon beat Buffalo 102-82 in Eugene. However, she hit nine free throws, dished out 10 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds, giving her the 12th triple-double of her career, which tied the NCAA record.
Dec. 2, 2018: Ionescu sets the Oregon single-game assists record, dishing out 17 in a win over Long Beach State.
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Dec. 20, 2018: About a month after tying the triple-double record, Ionescu broke it. In a dominant defensive effort from the Ducks, Oregon beat Air Force 82-36, and Ionescu dropped 17 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds.
Jan. 12, 2019: In a blowout win over USC – in which the Ducks won 93-53 in Los Angeles – Ionescu notched seven assists, which pushed her past 608 for her career, giving her the ownership of Oregon’s career assists record. She also had 17 points, four steals and four rebounds in the game.
March 31, 2019: After back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight, the Ducks finally got over the hump and made it to the Final Four, beating Mississippi State 88-84. Ionescu put up 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting from the floor and also had seven rebounds and eight assists in a 40-minute effort.
What to expect this season
Ionescu enters her senior campaign with the chance to join an exclusive club.
So far, she has accumulated 1,984 points, 792 assists and 756 rebounds. The only player who has more than 2,000 points and 1,000 assists in their career is Gonzaga’s Courtney Vandersloot. Ionescu had 311 assists last season, so her joining Vandersloot is absolutely in play.
Ionescu also has the chance to win a third Nancy Lieberman Award – given to the nation’s top point guard – which has only been done once, by UConn’s Sue Bird. Additionally, another Pac-12 Player of the Year award would put her in the company of Stanford’s Candice Wiggins as the only three-time winners.
Oregon’s season begins on Nov. 11, when the Ducks host Northeaster in a non-conference contest. Their first road game is Nov. 24, at Syracuse in a clash on the ACC Network.
Perhaps the most anticipated match-up on Oregon’s non-conference schedule is a meeting with Louisville on Nov. 30 in St. Thomas for the Paradise Jam. The Cardinals made the Final Four in 2018, and were in the Elite Eight last season.
Oregon has a Pac-12 championship game rematch with Stanford on Jan. 16 in Eugene.