Cal Basketball: Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu Reaches Historic 2K-1K-1K Plateau
It was a day like no other for East Bay native Sabrina Ionescu.
Hours after speaking at the late Kobe Bryant's "Celebration of Life" at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, the Oregon senior point guard became the first player in college basketball history - man or woman - to reach career totals of 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists.
Three nights after getting close to that milestone in a win at Cal, Ionescu needed just nine more rebounds to get there. She got it done Monday night with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists in the No. 3 Ducks' 74-66 win over No. 4 Stanford at Maples Pavilion.
Ionescu, a native of Walnut Creek, had become friends with Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were among nine killed in a helicopter crash last month in Los Angeles.
Bryant's widow, Vanessa, invited Ionescu to be among the speakers at Monday's two-hour event, along with the likes of Michael Jordan, Shaquille O'Neal, Diana Taurasi and Geno Auriemma. Jimmy Kimmel served as host, and Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Christina Aguilera all performed.
"That one was for him," Ionescu said after the game. 'To do it on 2-24-20 was huge. I can't really put that into words. He's looking down on me and I'm really proud."
Ionescu's performance at Staples was her 26th career triple double - 14 more than any player in college basketball history - and gave the Ducks no worse than a share of the Pac-12 Conference title.
Ionescu took a private plan with coach Kelly Graves' wife to Los Angeles on Sunday night, then spoke Monday at the event that lasted until 12:30. She didn't get back to Stanford until about 4:30 p.m. - 90 minutes before tipoff.
ESPN reported that Ionescu hadn't eaten all day and wasn't feel well. Graves said afterward she was battling the flu. She did not participate in pre-game warmups, but still delivered a clutch performance on a huge day in her young life.
Asked what was the hardest part of her day, Ionescu said, "Everything. You kind of try to hide some of those emotions and then you get there at the Staples Center and they all come back to you. I tried to do everything I could to try to hold it together tonight and my team was a lot of help."