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Beth Maiman | | July 25, 2020

18 of the best moments from Sabrina Ionescu’s college career

Sabrina Ionescu 2019 NCAA tournament highlights

After Sabrina Ionescu decided to return to Oregon for her senior season, we knew the college basketball star would have another year to amaze fans and set records.

Ionescu entered her senior season with 1,984 points, 792 assists and 756 rebounds, which set her up for a chance to become the first player in NCAA Division I history to reach 2,000+ career points, 1,000+ career assists and 1,000+ career rebounds. Well — she did just that back in February.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the senior didn’t get to complete her “unfinished business” of winning a national title, as the men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments were canceled, along with spring sports. 

We’ll always wonder what more the college basketball star could have accomplished if her final season was not cut short. For now, women’s basketball fans should get a chance to watch her shine in the WNBA with the New York Liberty.

Although Ionescu’s college career has come to a close, we take a look back at some of her best moments at Oregon.

Her first triple-double in college - Nov. 27, 2016 

Playing in her only seventh career game, Ionescu recorded her first triple-double against San Jose State back in November 2016. In that game she recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Later that season she won the ESPNW and Pac-12 Freshman of the Year awards. 

Beating Cal at the buzzer - Jan. 8, 2017 

This buzzer beater was the start of something special for Oregon in the Pac-12. The Ducks ended the game on an 8-0 run, and Ionescu sealed the win with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. 

Sabrina’s fourth triple double, the most be any freshman in NCAA history - Feb. 10, 2017 

Ionescu recorded her fourth triple-double of her freshman year as the Ducks beat No. 15 UCLA. Her fourth triple-double was the most by any freshman in NCAA-single season history. 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu is AP women’s player of the year

Beating Maryland to lead Ducks to first-ever Elite Eight - March 25, 2017

While tallying 21 points, plus six rebounds and seven assists, Ionescu helped Oregon to the program’s first Elite Eight appearance.

Broke NCAA women’s basketball record for triple doubles - Dec. 31, 2017

As a sophomore, Ionescu set the NCAA career record with her eighth career triple-double on Dec. 31 against Washington in just her 48th career game. In the same game head coach Kelly Graves won his 500th career game. Ionescu scored 24 points to go with 14 rebounds and 10 assists. She broke Penn State's Suzie McConnell's (128 games, 1985-88) and Louella Tomlinson's of Saint Mary's (125 games, 2008-11) record of seven triple-doubles. 

Dropped 36 points, breaks Pac-12 tournament title game scoring record - March 4, 2018

Ionescu scored 36 points to help the Ducks win the Pac-12 tournament back in 2018. The guard would go on to win the tournament’s MVP. 

Ionescu sets Oregon single-game assist record - Dec. 2, 2018. 

Ionescu set the program's record after dishing out 17 in a win over Long Beach State.

CATCH UP: Watch all of Sabrina Ionescu's 2019 NCAA tournament highlights 

Sets new NCAA record for career triple-doubles in men's & women's history - Dec. 20, 2018

Ionescu dropped 17 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to earn her 13th career triple double, which marked more than any man or woman has achieved in NCAA history. The previous record of 12 was held by former BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth. 

Heading into her senior season, Ionescu tallied 18 triple doubles. She had four as a freshman and six as a sophomore. She also joined Stanford’s Nicole Powell as the only two players to have multiple tournament triple-doubles, after she picked another one up in the second round of the 2019 tournament.

A shout out from the Warriors’ Steph Curry - Dec. 30, 2018

Ionescu, who is from the Bay Area, had a chance to hang out with NBA star Steph Curry, who made sure the all-time leader in triple-doubles got some attention on his Instagram. 

“Let me hit this and walk off to the Final Four” - March 31, 2019

Ionescu drained a clutch 3-pointer with a little over a minute left remaining in an Elite Eight game vs. Mississippi State. The win over the Bulldogs sent Oregon to its first Final Four appearance in school history. 

4-point play at the 2019 Women's Final Four - March 5, 2019

In Oregon’s first-ever Final Four game, the Ducks faced a talented Baylor team. Down by 3 with seconds left in the first half, Ionescu pulls up at the 3-point line, gets fouled by DiDi Richards and makes the bucket and one. This gave the Ducks the lead going into the second half. Ionescu’s face after the foul is priceless. Oregon would ultimately fall to the Bears, 72-67.

“Unfinished Business” - April 6, 2019

After Oregon’s loss to Baylor in Tampa, many media members asked Sabrina about whether she decided if she was staying another year at Oregon or would be declaring for the WNBA draft. At the time, she said she didn’t know. The next day, she wrote in The Players’ Tribune that she had unfinished business

Oregon beats Team USA - Nov. 9, 2019

The Ducks defeated Team USA 93-86 in an exhibition game at Matt Knight Arena in Eugene. It was the first time in 20 years a college team beat Team USA. The last time was back in 1999 when Tennessee won after a shot with 10 seconds left by then-freshman and current assistant coach for the Boston Celtics Kara Lawson. Ionescu scored 20 points in the third quarter and finished the game with 30 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Oregon’s all-time leading scorer - Jan. 16, 2020

The senior scored a career-high 37 points and became Oregon’s all-time leading scorer when the Ducks beat Stanford, 87-55. She surpassed  former Duck Alison Lang, who posted 2,252 during her career at Oregon.

Sabrina gets a win at Gill - Jan. 26, 2020

Ionescu played the second game of the Civil War Series weekend with a heavy heart. Earlier that morning, NBA legend Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident. Bryant’s daughter, Giana, was also killed in the crash. Ionescu had developed a close relationship with the Bryant family, spending her summers working out with Kobe and Giana’s youth team. Sabrina considered Kobe a mentor and friend. The tragic news broke about an hour before tip off and Ionescu missed warm ups. Through pain, she played anyway — tallying 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists. The win marked Ionescu’s first at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. In her post-game interview she said she was dedicating the rest of the season to Kobe.

Oregon beats UConn in Storrs - Feb. 3, 2020

Oregon handed the Huskies their worst home loss since Dec. 5, 2005, when UConn lost to North Carolina by 23 points. In the win Ionescu almost picked up another triple-double, recording 10 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.

INTERVIEW: UConn's Christyn Williams discusses leadership in uncertain times, making TikTok videos

Making history - Feb. 24, 2020

Ionescu entered this game needing nine rebounds to become the first player in Division I history to reach 2,000+ career points, 1,000+ career assists and 1,000+ career rebounds. Her ninth rebound came in the third quarter of the game, but she would finish with a triple-double, the 26th of her career. 

What made the performance even more impressive was how she spoke at Kobe Bryant’s memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles the morning before the game. 

"That one was for him," said Ionescu after the game. "To do it on 2/24/20 is huge. We talked about that in the preseason; I can't really put that into words. He's looking down and really proud of me."

Wins Pac-12 tournament - March 8, 2020

At the time, fans didn’t know they were watching Sabrina’s last collegiate game, but the Ducks' Pac-12 championship win over Stanford would be the last time Ionescu would play in college. She finished the game with 20 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds. The title was Oregon’s second in three years. Ionescu was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player and finished her career as the Pac-12 Tournament record-holder for career points (250), field goals (90) and assists (86).

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