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Sabrina Ionescu: Triple-Double Queen, Junior Year

The nation began to wake up to the glory of Ionescu!

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Women’s Oregon at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is the third part of a four-part series recapping Sabrina Ionescu’s historic career. Part one focused on her freshman season, Part Two her sophomore season, now we turn our attention towards the junior year of the Triple-Double Queen!

JUNIOR ACCOLADES

  • National player of the Year - Wade Trophy Winner
  • Most outstanding player in women’s college basketball - Wooden Award Winner
  • WBCA First-Team All-America
  • ESPNW First-Team All-America
  • Associated Press First-Team All-America
  • Wooden All-America
  • USBWA First-Team All-America
  • Nation’s top point guard - Two-Time Nancy Lieberman Award Winner
  • Honda Sport Award Finalist
  • Pac-12 Player of the Year
  • All-Pac-12
  • Naismith Trophy finalist
  • Dawn Staley Award finalist
  • NCAA Portland Regional MVP
  • Pac-12 All-Tournament Team
  • ESPNW Preseason Player of the Year
  • Preseason AP All-American
  • Preseason All-Pac-12
Oregon v Washington Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

REGULAR SEASON

The Ducks finished the 2018-19 season with a 33-5 record and a trip to the Final Four. After winning their first seven games, Oregon suffered their first loss of the season against Michigan State in East Lansing. They responded by winning out the rest of the non-conference schedule and then dominating their PAC-12 foes until an unfortunate injury to Ruthy Hebard suffered during the Civil War momentarily derailed the season by causing the first back-to-back losses for the Ducks since Jan 1st, 2017.

But the team finished strong by winning their final three games and clinching sole possession of another PAC-12 Regular Season Title.


11. @ Alaska Fairbanks - The first game of the season took place in Hebard’s hometown of Fairbanks, Alaska. A large crowd, or at least large for Fairbanks, arrived to cheer on Hebard, but all fans were rewarded with an early-season spectacle from Ionescu. (11/6/18)

18 POINTS - 12 ASSISTS - 11 REBOUNDS

12. Buffalo - In what Ionescu called “the worst triple-double I’ve ever had,” the Ducks proved that they were much more than a one-woman show; Oregon’s four other starters all earned more than 15 points apiece. Ionescu committed seven of the Ducks’ 19 turnovers and was 1-of-7 from the floor, but still wound up with a triple-double and a win. (11/18/18)

12 POINTS - 10 ASSISTS - 10 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 5,205

13. Air Force - Then, she got the big one.

Last season against Washington Ionescu broke the women’s career triple-double record, then against Air Force she recorded her thirteenth triple-double, surpassing Kyle Collinsworth to become the all-time triple-double leader for both men’s and women’s basketball. The performance itself seemed strangely ho-hum, but Ionescu has made a career off of making the incredible a common occurrence. (12/20/18)

17 POINTS - 13 ASSISTS - 11 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 7,967

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Women’s Oregon at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

14. UC Irvine - How does Sabrina celebrate becoming a triple-double legend? By getting another triple-double the very next day, of course! Oregon closed out their non-conference schedule by tying their season-high total of 115 points. (12/21/18)

13 POINTS - 14 ASSISTS - 10 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 4,772

15. WASHINGTON STATE - Ionescu not only recorded her 15th triple-double, she also tied the UO career record with her 607th assist. (1/6/19)

17 POINTS - 10 ASSISTS - 12 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 5,946

16. ARIZONA - How bad was this beatdown? At the end of the first quarter the Ducks were up 31 to 4. On top of that, Ionescu poured salt in the wound by earning her sixth triple double of the season, tying her previous season’s total.(1/20/19)

21 POINTS - 12 ASSISTS - 12 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 7,062

17. USC - Just when you thought she couldn’t break anymore triple-double records, Ionescu scored her seventh of the season against a conference rival, officially breaking Danielle Carson’s single-season triple-double record of six. This was coming off a rare stretch in which the Ducks lost back-to-back games: first against the Beavers and then the Bruins. (2/24/19)

13 POINTS - 13 ASSISTS - 12 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 8,232


POSTSEASON

The Ducks earned the 1-Seed in the PAC-12 Tournament, and were especially grateful for the game-one bye having accumulated a slew of injuries: Ruthy Hebard still wasn’t 100 percent healed from her knee injury against Oregon State, Maite Cazorla was battling the flew, and the Ducks’ most promising freshman, Taylor Chavez, was also unavailable due to a fractured foot suffered against USC.

Oregon made it back to the PAC-12 Championship Game by beating Arizona (77-63) and UCLA (88-83 in overtime) before ultimately falling to the Stanford Cardinal, 57 to 64. The Ducks rebounded from their tournament loss by making their first trip to the Final Four in program history. Portland State and Indiana had a hard time keeping up with Oregon at Matt knight, falling to the Ducks 78-40 and 91-68 in the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament, respectively.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 10 Women’s Oregon at Stanford Photo by Cody Glenn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

18. INDIANA - She did it again, this time in a tournament game, joining Stanford’s Nicole Powell as one of only two players to have multiple tournament triple-doubles. She grabbed her tenth rebound by purposely missing a triple late in the game, proving that Ionescu is playing a different game than everybody else. A person really shouldn’t be able to do this against that level of competition, but Ionescu is no mere mortal, she is an Oregon Duck legend! Much like Prefontaine and Mariota before her! (3/24/19)

29 POINTS - 12 ASSISTS - 10 REBOUNDS

Attendance: 6,729

Oregon then faced a pair of familiar foes a couple hours north at the Moda Center; a high-point of the regular season took place when the Ducks bounced back from their loss against Michigan State by beating South Dakota State on the road and then the mighty Mississippi State Bulldogs at Matt Knight, then in postseason play, the Ducks repeated their performance by beating the Jackrabbits in the Sweet Sixteen and then the Bulldogs in the Elite Eight.

The team’s final game of the season took place against the Baylor Lady Bears in the Final Four, meaning for the second year in a row the Ducks would fall to the eventual national champion. The season fell two games short of the ultimate prize, but was far from a letdown; the legend of Ionescu was spreading throughout the country, and with the announcement of her return for her senior season the Ducks became preseason favorites for the 2019-20 season.

But, alas, Ionescu’s final season as a Duck would conclude unfinished...