Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu earns 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy for being named the women’s player of the year


Postseason honors continue to roll in for one of the best college basketball players of all-time. Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu was named the winner of the 2020 Citizen Naismith Trophy, recognizing the most outstanding women’s college basketball player of the year. The announcement was carried live Friday on CBS Sports HQ. Ionescu beat out Lauren Cox (Baylor), Tyasha Harris (South Carolina), and Ryne Howard (Kentucky) for the award.

Ionescu completed her collegiate playing career as the all-time NCAA leader in triple-doubles with 26 and is the only player in NCAA history to reach the 2,000 point, 1,000 rebound, and 1,000 assist plateau. Ionescu finished her career with 2,562 points, 1,040 rebounds, and 1,091 assists.

Prior to the cancellation of both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Tournaments due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Ionescu led the Ducks to Pac-12 regular season and tournament championships. It was the third consecutive regular season title for Oregon and their second tournament championship in three years. Ionescu was named Pac-12 Player of the Year for the third consecutive season.

The Ducks finished the season at 31-2 and was 120-26 in Ionescu’s four seasons. The Ducks have seen a quick escalation to the top of the sport, in part due to the excellence that has been Sabrina Ionescu. As a freshman, she helped lead Oregon to a 23-14 record and a No. 10 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Ionescu led her team on a magical March run that year, defeating No. 7 seed Temple, No. 2 seed Duke and No. 3 seed Maryland before losing to the No. 1 seed in the Bridgeport Region, UConn.

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The arrow was pointed up for a team that was just two years removed from a season in which they finished 13-17. Following her freshman campaign, Ionescu led the Ducks to three consecutive 30-win seasons, including the program’s first Final Four last season.

Oregon coach Kelly Graves knows exactly what Ionescu has meant to him and the Ducks program.

“She will forever be linked with our program,” he told CBS Sports. “She left a legacy of being one of the most premier college players of all-time.”

It wasn’t just her talent, but her work ethic that has gotten her to this point.

“She works so hard. Every day, every practice, every drill,” Graves said. “She’s also a great teammate. Her teammates trust her and they believe in her. We knew she was going to be a program defining player. Now, she’s doing things that have never been done before.”

The next step for Ionescu will be the WNBA. The WNBA Draft is set to take place April 17 and will be a virtual draft, with commissioner Cathy Engelbert reading selections from a remote location, with live video and reaction of the players drafted.

It is unlikely that Ionescu will have to wait very long for her name to be called. The New York Liberty hold the first pick in the draft and all signs point to them selecting Ionescu.

Many see Ionescu as a can’t-miss WNBA prospect. While her talent and work ethic on the court certainly point to that, her demeanor and character off of the court could cement it.

“She’s every bit as good of a person as she is a player,” Graves said. “She will help just as much off the court as she will on it. There’s no one like Sabrina. She’s a culture builder.”

All-time winners

Year Player School
2020 Sabrina Ionescu Oregon
2019 Megan Gustafson Iowa
2018 A’ja Wilson South Carolina
2017 Kelsey Plum Washington
2016 Breanna Stewart UConn
2015 Breanna Stewart UConn
2014 Breanna Stewart UConn
2013 Brittney Griner Baylor
2012 Brittney Griner Baylor
2011 Maya Moore UConn
2010 Tina Charles UConn
2009 Maya Moore UConn
2008 Candace Parker Tennessee
2007 Lindsey Harding Duke
2006 Seimone Augustus LSU
2005 Seimone Augustus LSU
2004 Diana Taurasi UConn
2003 Diana Taurasi UConn
2002 Sue Bird UConn
2001 Ruth Riley Notre Dame
2000 Tamika Catchings Tennessee
1999 Chamique Holdsclaw Tennessee
1998 Chamique Holdsclaw Tennessee
1997 Kate Starbird Stanford
1996 Saudia Roundtree Georgia
1995 Rebecca Lobo UConn
1994 Lisa Leslie USC
1993 Sheryl Swoopes Texas Tech
1992 Dawn Staley Virginia
1991 Dawn Staley Virginia
1990 Jennifer Azzi Stanford
1989 Clarissa Davis Texas
1988 Sue Wicks Rutgers
1987 Clarissa Davis Texas
1986 Cheryl Miller USC
1985 Cheryl Miller USC
1984 Cheryl Miller USC
1983 Anne Donovan Old Dominion





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