Feb 25, 2020 - Sports

Sabrina Ionescu makes NCAA history hours after Kobe Bryant memorial speech

Sabrina Ionescu
Photo: Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hours after speaking at Kobe Bryant's memorial service in Los Angeles, Sabrina Ionescu flew to the Bay Area to rejoin her Oregon teammates — and proceeded to do something never done before in college basketball.

What happened: Ionescu became the first player in NCAA history, man or woman, to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in No. 3 Oregon's 74-66 win over No. 4 Stanford.

"That one was for [Kobe]. To do it on 2-24-20 was huge. We talked about it in the preseason. I can't put it into words. He's looking down and proud of me and happy for this moment with my team."
— Ionescu, per ESPN

Why it matters: This monumental achievement cements Ionescu's place among college basketball's all-time greats and puts Oregon in position to write a storybook ending to her career with a national title.

  • Ionescu also notched her 26th career triple-double (21-12-12), 14 more than any other player, and helped the Ducks clinch at least a share of their third straight Pac-12 regular-season title.

The big picture: Kobe was an ardent supporter of women's hoops, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna looked destined for stardom.

  • For Ionescu — who will forever be connected to them both — to reach this milestone on the same day millions celebrated Kobe and Gianna's lives is just special.
"[Kobe] didn't see growing the game with girls as his hobby, or as some side project, or as a charity case. He saw it as a movement. And he didn't get involved because he just wanted to be a fan of our movement. He got involved because he wanted to be a part of it."
— Ionescu in The Player's Tribune

Of note: Steph Curry showed up at last night's game to make sure he was there to witness women's sports history.

What's next: The 2020 WNBA season could be its most exciting ever.

  • A chaotic offseason reshuffled the landscape and created new rivalries, 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart is back after missing all of last season and Ionescu will be a world-famous rookie — in New York, no less (the Liberty own the No. 1 pick).

Go deeper: Los Angeles celebrates Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Go deeper