Sabrina Ionescu named the AP National Player of the Year

Published On March 23, 2020 | By Paige McGowan | Headlines, News, Sports
Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) roars in celebration during the women’s basketball game between the Oregon Ducks and the Stanford Cardinal at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, CA. Ionescu was unanimously selected at AP Player of the Year. (Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Paige McGowan

A few days after being named an Associated Press first-team all-American for her third straight year, Oregon women’s basketball senior Sabrina Ionescu has been unanimously selected as the AP women’s national player of the year.

Sabrina Ionescu capped off an extraordinary college career by joining an exclusive club of elite athletes.

Not only is she the first Oregon Duck ever to win the AP national player of the year title, but she also joins former UConn star, Breanna Stewart as the only unanimous winners in history, receiving all 30 votes from the national media panel.

“That’s pretty crazy. Someone I look up to and have a good relationship with,” Ionescu told the AP. “To be in that class with her is an honour.”

The top WNBA prospect decided to come back for her senior season, saying she had unfinished business and hopes of winning an NCAA title.

Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds this season as well as having eight of her 26 career triple-doubles.

“Sabrina is a transcendent basketball player,” Oregon head coach Kelly Graves said. “There’s really nothing that she couldn’t do on the court. She was the ultimate leader.”

In her stellar senior season, Ionescu became the first player, man or woman, to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in NCAA Division 1 basketball history.

She hit the milestone on a defensive rebound with just over a minute remaining in the third quarter and went on to finish with 21 points, 12 assists and 12 rebounds.

Ionescu did this hours after speaking at Kobe Bryant’s memorial service, clutching her record 26th career triple-double and leading No. 3 Oregon past fourth-ranked Stanford 74-66.

She ended up finishing her career total with 2,562 points, 1,040 rebounds and 1,091 assists.

“Sabrina is a basketball player, period. She was this year’s Zion and a household name,” AP voter Deb Antonelli said. “Fans and ballplayers respect her game because she works hard and produces when the brightest lights are shining on her. She delivered stats in the game no other four-year player has ever accomplished man or woman.”

Ionescu guided her team to a 31-2 mark this season, which ended prematurely with the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I have enjoyed everything that I did this year,” said Ionescu during the Pac-12 Tournament. “I never second-guess my choice.”

Although the basketball world will never get to witness Ionescu in her senior title run, she will go down in history as one of the best in the game.

Sabrina Ionescu cheering in a huddle with her teammates. (John Locher/AP Images)
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