Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press
Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu made history Monday against Stanford when she collected her ninth rebound of the game late in the third quarter. She became the first player in Division I to have at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.
After the game, Ionescu dedicated the historic feat to the late Kobe Bryant:
Ionescu attended a memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday, and the Ducks star was among those who paid tribute to the Black Mamba.
Ionescu had reached 2,000 points in the second game of the season and recorded her 1,000th assist in Oregon’s 80-66 win over UCLA on Feb. 14, joining former Gonzaga star Courtney Vandersloot as the only other D-I player with 2,000 points and 1,000 assists.
Like Ionescu, Vandersloot played under Kelly Graves (when he coached the Zags).
“I’ve been lucky that for eight years of my career I have had them as point guards,” Graves told the Associated Press. “We have a system that allows them to play the way they do. They also have had elite talent around them that has made them better.”
The on-court exploits of Ionescu, who already owns the NCAA’s all-time triple-doubles mark, have caught the eyes of various NBA stars. Most recently, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry was on hand to watch the Ducks soundly beat Cal 93-61 on Friday.
Citing “unfinished business,” Ionescu returned to Oregon for her senior season in search of the program’s first national title.
The Ducks lost to eventual champion Baylor in the Final Four last year, a result that exposed their overreliance on Ionescu. She shot 6-of-24 from the field and played all 40 minutes in the 72-67 defeat.
Now, Oregon has another year of experience and is generally more balanced. The Ducks rank sixth in defensive rating (73.8) on Her Hoop Stats, up from 11th (79.4) a season ago, and graduate transfer Minyon Moore has helped fill the void left by Maite Cazorla.
Ionescu’s individual numbers have already assured her of legendary status in college basketball. An NCAA title would be the perfect capper to an incredible career.