Honors roll in for Pac-12 women’s basketball, including top honor for Ionescu
SAN FRANCISCO - OREGON’s Sabrina Ionescu is tabbed the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s Wade Trophy winner for the second-straight year, the WBCA announced today. She becomes the sixth player in the 43-year history of the award to win the honor multiple times. The WBCA also announced the 10-member All-American list which featured, for the first time ever, four Pac-12 student-athletes, including Ionescu and teammates Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally, and ARIZONA’s Aari McDonald. Ionescu and McDonald were also tabbed finalists for the Honda Award, which was announced by the Collegiate Women’s Sports Awards.
Ionescu (Walnut Creek, Calif.) has already been recognized by the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) and ESPN.com as the national player of the year. She, along with Hebard (Fairbanks, Alaska), were named finalists for the John R. Wooden Award last night and named to the five-member Wooden All-America team.
The 2019 Wade Trophy recipient, Ionescu became the first player in men’s or women’s college basketball history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in her career. She earned her third-consecutive Pac-12 Player of the Year honor and matched her single-season record eight triple-doubles in 2019-20. Ionescu finishes her college career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in triple-doubles (26) and No. 4 in career assists. She is a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree and owns Pac-12 career marks for total assists, average assists (7.7 apg) and triple-doubles. Averaging 17.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, she led the nation with a 9.1 assists per game average. She was named Player of the Year by the USBWA and ESPN.com and is a finalist for the Citizen Naismith Trophy and Nancy Lieberman Award, which she has won the last two years.
With teammates Hebard and Sabally (Berlin, Germany) the trio helped the Ducks post a 31-2 overall record and claim the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament crowns. The squad was projected to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Hebard is also a four-time All-Pac-12 honoree and Sabally earned the Conference nod twice. Hebard broke the Pac-12’s single-season field goal percentage honor for the third-straight year, posting a nation’s best 68.5 shooting, en route to breaking the Pac-12’s career mark at 65.1 percent. This season, she contributed 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game. Sabally is a Cheryl Miller Award finalist and was featured on several preseason national player of the year watch lists. She averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, starting in every game she played in.
McDonald (Fresno, Calif.) becomes Arizona’s first-ever WBCA All-American. McDonald is a finalist for the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award and the Honda Award. The Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year and All-Pac-12 honoree, she led the Pac-12 in scoring (20.6) and steals per game (2.3). She is the only player in conference history to lead the Pac-12 in scoring and steals twice. She finished the season 10th in the country in scoring and has scored in double-figures in 66-straight games, the longest active streak in the nation which is also her entire Arizona career. She helped lead Arizona to 24 wins this season, which is tied for the second-most wins in school history while also leading the Wildcats to a fourth-place finish in the Pac-12, Arizona’s best finish since 2011. The Wildcats were projected to earn their first NCAA Tournament bid since 2005.
Earning honorable mention All-America status are UCLA’s Michaela Onyenwere, OREGON STATE’s Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum, and STANFORD’s Kiana Williams.
For more information, visit the WBCA website at wbca.org.