After speaking at Kobe Bryant’s memorial, Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu led the #3 Ducks to a 74-66 win over #4 Stanford in Palo Alto on Monday night, finishing with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists. She became the first player in college basketball history, male or female, to reach 2K+ career points, 1K+ career rebounds, and 1K+ career assists. Simply incredible. Especially when you consider the fact that she had the flu.
One of the highlights of my basketball reporting career is interviewing Sabrina in the stands at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley after she hit a game-winner over Cal in her freshman year. She’s from Walnut Creek, so it was her first college game back home. She is seriously one of the coolest, most down to earth people. I’m very happy to see her have the success that she has had.
On Friday night, Oregon came to Berkeley to play Cal, so I was there reporting on the game. Oregon dominated Cal 93-61. After the game, I asked her coach Kelly Graves if there’s anything he does to help manage the pressure she has to deal with. He said at times they do have to keep fans and people away and shield her a bit. He also added that he gets a ton of texts and e-mails from people he doesn’t even know about. She’s literally a rock star everywhere she goes and she takes the time to talk with her fans and make them feel valued. She doesn’t let any of this get to her head and does an amazing job at staying grounded and focused. I’m so incredibly happy to see her have this level of success. Well deserved.