Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu taken No. 1, five from Pac-12 selected in WNBA Draft
SAN FRANCISCO - OREGON’s Sabrina Ionescu highlights the five 2020 WNBA Draft picks from the Pac-12. She becomes the first Duck and the fifth Pac-12 women’s basketball player all-time to be taken with the top pick. In addition, teammate Satou Sabally was taken with the No. 2 pick, marking the second time in league history and only the fourth time in WNBA Draft history players from the same program are picked 1-2. It also marks the fourth-consecutive year at least two Pac-12 players have been picked in the first round.
It is the second time in four years the top selection in the WNBA Draft has come from the Pac-12. Sabrina Ionescu (Walnut Creek, Ca.), joins former Washington Husky Kelsey Plum (2017), former Stanford Cardinal Chiney Ogwumike (2014) and Nnemkadi Ogwumike (2012), and former USC Trojan Tina Thompson (1997) as the Conference’s all-time top picks.
With Ionescu and Satou Sabally (Berlin, Germany) going 1-2, it marks the fourth time in WNBA history that players from the same program are selected with the first two picks in the Draft. The first occurrence coming in 1997 when Thompson and fellow Trojan Pamela McGee were selected Nos. 1 and 2.
Picked by the New York Liberty, Ionescu was the 2020 consensus national player of the year after earning the nation’s top honor from the Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), winning the WBCA’s Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy and John R. Wooden Award. After deciding to return for her final campaign despite being eligible for the draft last year, she closed a history-making career becoming the first player in NCAA history (men’s or women’s) to tally 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists. The Pac-12’s all-time assist leader, her 26 triple-doubles are, by far, the most of any player in NCAA men’s or women’s history. A three-time Pac-12 Pac-12 Player of the Year, she was also named the nation’s top point guard three-consecutive years, winning the Nancy Lieberman award three times.
Draft-eligible after her junior campaign, Sabally was the No. 2 overall pick and was selected by the Dallas Wings after earning All-American honors this year, earning the nod from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), AP and USBWA. She was the winner of the Cheryl Miller Award, presented to the nation’s top small forward. She averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, starting in every game she played in, en route to All-Pac-12 honor for the second time in her career.
Selected with the eighth overall pick and in the first round by the Chicago Sky, Ruthy Hebard (Fairbanks, Alaska) was also a consensus All-American this year, along with Ionescu, and was the winner of the Cheryl Miller Award for the second time as the top power forward in the country. She shot a nation-leading and Pac-12 record 68.5 percent from the floor en route to setting the Conference’s career shooting percentage record at 65.1 percent. Averaging 17.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, she tallied 2,000-career points and ranks in the top-10 all-time in league history.
OREGON STATE’s Mikayla Pivec (Lynwood, Wash.) was the first pick in the third round, and No. 25 overall, and was selected by the Atlanta Dream. Pivec was a two-time All-Pac-12 selection and this season, was named to the All-Defensive team for the first time. She was an honorable mention All-American and was one of the top rebounding guards in the country, averaging 9.3 rebounds per game.
UCLA’s Japreece Dean (Austin, Texas) is the Conference’s fifth pick when she was taken with the sixth pick in the third round (30th pick overall) by the Chicago Sky. Dean was second in the Pac-12 behind Ionescu in assists per game, averaging 5.5 apg. A midseason candidate for the Lieberman Award, she earned All-Pac-12 honors for the first time in her career after helping the Bruins to a tie for second in the Pac-12, their best showing since 2011.
For more information on the WNBA Draft, visit wnba.com.
2020 PAC-12 WNBA DRAFT PICKS
|Sabrina Ionescu, ORE
|New York Liberty
|Satou Sabally, ORE
|Ruthy Hebard, ORE
|Mikayla Pivec, OSU
|Japreece Dean, UCLA