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.
Driving the news: 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
Bonus: 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. And did I mention she did all of this just 50 miles from her hometown of Walnut Creek?
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.
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
So no, I don't think it's a coincidence that Steph Curry showed up at last night's game to make sure he was there to witness women's sports history.
- It felt like Steph, who was also at the memorial service hours earlier, was stepping up in Kobe's absence to visibly support the women's game — and I have no doubt we'll see more players carry on Kobe's legacy in that way. #GirlDads.
Looking ahead ... 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 (Liberty own the No. 1 pick).
🎥 Watch: Sabrina's speech at Kobe's memorial service (YouTube)