Spring 2021 Magazine

Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu wins PAC-12 Player of the Year while playing for Christ

Oregon guard Sabrina Ionescu was named PAC-12 Player of the Year this week for the second straight season. She has averaged 19.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game so far this season, and has led the Ducks to their second consecutive regular-season PAC-12 title.

“I think (winning) definitely helped,” Ionescu told 247sports. “We were put in a good spot by winning the regular season conference championship. Hats off to my team.”

The ever-humble Ionescu is perhaps best known for her propensity for triple-doubles. The junior guard has accumulated an NCAA-record 17 already in her career, including a single-season record seven this year. Her feat caught the attention of the national media and NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry, who called Ionescu the ‘walking triple dub.’

The Ducks are not only the best team in the PAC-12, they are one of the best in the country. They are currently ranked sixth in the AP Top 25 and are in contention for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament with a 27-3 overall record. Oregon’s fifth-year head coach, Kelly Graves, also earned PAC-12 Coach of the Year honors and Ionescu was joined by three teammates in receiving all-PAC-12 honors.

Ionescu is renowned by her teammates and coaches for her leadership and competitive nature. Graves even calls her the heart and soul of the team.

Ionescu told Sports Spectrum Magazine for its Spring 2019 issue that her Romanian background and her identity in Christ has given her the confidence to accomplish as much as she has. Ionescu was raised by two Christian parents but it wasn’t until middle school that she truly began to understand what it meant to be a follower of Christ. The increased independence of college life in Eugene has only served to deepen her faith. When Ionescu pulls down yet another triple-double to add to her record, she wants Christ alone to be glorified.

“I do everything for (my coaches and teammates),” she said, “and try to have Christ live through me.”

Oregon will next play either USC or Arizona on Friday at 5 p.m. EST in the PAC-12 Tournament being held in Las Vegas. The NCAA Tournament is set to begin March 22.

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