Sabrina Ionescu: A Generation-Defining Athlete

The former Oregon Duck is looking to make a splash in the WNBA.

Sabrina Ionescu: A Generation-Defining Athlete

Forbes

Eric Fenstermaker, Senior Writer

The entire sports world erupted when Virginia went from a loss against a 16 seed to a victory in the championship over Texas Tech. However, could you name the 2019 NCAAW champion? Could you name even five total players that competed in the NCAAW Tournament? Often, the accomplishments of fantastic female athletes are overlooked. One such athlete, who still doesn’t get the accolades she deserves, is Sabrina Ionescu.

Sabrina Ionescu was drafted yesterday with the #1 overall selection in the 2020 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty. She was a standout sensation at Oregon, and Ionescu has dominated the NCAAW landscape for the last four years. The 5’11’’ senior would have been the easy choice to go #1 in the 2019 NCAAW Draft, but she decided to return to school for the 2019-2020 season. Unfortunately, her dream of a title opportunity was slashed by COVID-19.

Oregon has never won an NCAAW title, and they have also never been in the championship game. Ionescu could have easily chose to go to the WNBA early, but she chose to return to school to bring a title to Oregon. She wanted to represent her university and leave a lasting legacy on her school. Being such a gifted athlete, Ionescu had an opportunity this year to lead Oregon to a place they have never been before, but she didn’t get the chance due to COVID-19. She, like many other seniors, lost her opportunity at March Madness glory due to the worldwide pandemic.

So, how does Ionescu’s collegian career end? She leaves behind a legacy that won’t easily be replicated. In four seasons, Ionescu scored 2,349 points. During her incredible senior season, Ionescu shot 43.8% from the field and 42.2% from three-point range. She averaged 19.6 PPG, 7.4 RPG, and 8.2 APG. Ionescu, a versatile triple-double machine, continued to capitalize on an amazing career during each and every game.

Ionescu joins teammates Satou Sabally (#2 overall selection) and Ruthy Hebard (#8 overall selection) as first-round picks in the 2020 WNBA Draft. Ionescu is an extremely talented athlete. She is not only a great player but also, she is a great person and leader. While she won’t get the acclaim she should, Ionescu has the ability to be a sensation for years to come. Every so often the sports world gets a figure so potent that he or she could change the entire landscape of the sport. Ionescu is that figure.

Now, I’m not saying that Ionescu will be the equivalent of Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan, but she has the potential to be an incredibly iconic figure. Inoescu does it all: shoot, rebound, pass, lead, etc. She has very few flaws, and she possesses the charisma and personality necessary to lead those around her. Ionescu is everything that you could want in a prospect and more. She will be a generation-defining athlete, and fans of the WNBA should be excited to see such a tremendous player blossom before their eyes over the coming years.