Bay Area Native Sabrina Ionescu Goes No. 1 in WNBA Draft to New York Liberty – NBC Los Angeles

Walnut Creek native Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 choose in the WNBA draft Friday evening, going to the New York Liberty in an Oregon sweep of the highest two picks.

Ionescu set the NCAA file for triple-doubles and was the primary school participant to have over 2,000 factors, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her profession. Ionescu was one among three first spherical picks for New York, which additionally had Nos. 9 and 12.

“I’ve been working for this for my entire basketball career and super excited to see that come to fruition,” Ionescu stated. “I just say I’m very humbled and excited for the opportunity.”

Ducks teammate Satou Sabally, one among three juniors to forego their final 12 months of faculty eligibility and enter the draft, went second to Dallas. It’s the third time in the historical past of the draft that the highest two picks have been from the identical program.

“To go 1-2 with Satou is a really cool feeling and shows all the hard work we went through this year paid off,” Ionescu stated. “Really proud of her and what we were able to do as teammates and excited to see her future in the pros.”

Lauren Cox went third to Indiana and Chennedy Carter was the fourth choose by Atlanta. Dallas took Bella Alarie with the fifth choose. The Princeton star was solely the second Ivy League participant to be drafted that prime. Harvard star Allison Feaster was additionally chosen fifth in the 1998 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.

It was a WNBA draft like no different due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. The league held it just about with gamers in their very own houses as an alternative of being in a central location, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert introduced picks from her dwelling in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the participant being chosen.

The WNBA tried to create a draft like expertise for the gamers, sending them a care bundle with hats of all 12 groups, a WNBA sweatshirt, confetti and some different gadgets. Coaches and normal managers have been unfold all through the nation and world, in order that they arrange digital conflict rooms as an alternative of gathering in their very own crew amenities.

While the draft was held Friday, its nonetheless unclear when the league will really begin its season. Engelbert strengthened on a convention name earlier in the day that there was no timetable to when the season will start. She stated there have been a wide range of situations in play, however crucial issue was the well being of everybody.

Training camp was supposed to start subsequent weekend with the common season opener initially scheduled for May 15.

The league held its common convention name with the groups earlier than the ESPN broadcast began to remove any likelihood of a choose not being in on time.

Engelbert introduced the WNBA, together with presenting draft associate State Farm and the gamers’ union, will donate $20,000 for every of the 12 first-round picks to Direct Relief to assist get protecting gear and drugs to health-care staff as shortly as doable.

The league additionally honored Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester earlier than the beginning of the draft. Engelbert introduced their names as jerseys have been proven on the display screen with every of the three gamers on them. The youngsters have been among the many 9 individuals who died in the helicopter accident on Jan. 26, together with Kobe Bryant.

“I think it was a very beautiful thing the WNBA did to be able to draft those three girls,” Ionescu stated. “They deserved it and know they are looking down and smiling.”

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