Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu makes Division I history hours after speaking at Kobe Bryant memorial


Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu became the first NCAA Division I player — man or woman — ever to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in her career during No. 3 Oregon’s victory Monday night against No. 4 Stanford. Ionescu, Oregon’s all-time leading scorer and one of the most accomplished college basketball players in history, reached the previously-unattainable mark during the third quarter against Stanford by gathering a defensive rebound off an airball under the basket.

Oregon went on to win 74-66, clinching at least a share of the Pac-12 title as Ionescu got her 26th career triple-double. Ionescu finished her history-making outing with with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists.

Ionescu’s accomplishment came a mere hours after she beautifully eulogized Kobe and Gianna Bryant at a memorial service held at Staples Center. She spoke of Kobe’s kindness, of Gianna’s promise and talents and of their impact on her pursuit of greatness. And in a coincidence that feels like anything but, the date of her accomplishment: 2/24/2020. (Kobe famously wore No. 24 with the Los Angeles Lakers, while Gianna, a basketball star in her own right, wore No. 2.)

“I grew up watching Kobe Bryant game after game, ring after ring, living his greatness without apology,” she said during the service. “I wanted to be just like him, to love every part of the competition, to be the first to show up and the last to leave, to love the grind, to be your best when you don’t feel your best and make other people around you the best version of themselves.”

After her speech, Ionescu flew back to the Bay Area where she rejoined her team just hours before leading Oregon to a road win over the fourth-ranked team in the Cardinal. The victory helped the Ducks capture at least a slice of the conference’s regular season title for a third consecutive year.





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