Sabrina Ionescu makes NCAA history hours after Kobe Bryant memorial speech
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).