Sabrina Ionescu goes No. 1 in WNBA draft to New York Liberty

Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu was the No. 1 choose within the WNBA draft, as anticipated.

When she’ll play for the New York Liberty is unclear.

With sports activities on maintain due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was a draft Friday evening like no different with gamers in their very own houses as an alternative of a central location, Commissioner Cathy Engelbert introduced choices from her residence in New Jersey, holding up the jersey of the participant being chosen.

“After all it was totally different than what I had anticipated, and simply excited to have the ability to be right here with my household and the folks closest to me and be capable of spend this time,” Ionescu mentioned from her residence in California. “Making essentially the most out of what is going on on in at this time’s society. Simply actually completely satisfied to have the ability to spend this second with them and excited to have gone by means of this course of.”

WATCH | Liberty make Ionescu prime choose:

The New York Liberty chosen Oregon Geese star guard Sabrina Ionescu with the No. 1 total choose within the WNBA draft on Friday. 4:23

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 have been working for this for my total basketball profession and tremendous excited to see that come to fruition,” Ionescu mentioned. “I am very humbled and excited for the chance.”

Geese teammate Satou Sabally, one among three juniors to forego their final yr of faculty eligibility and enter the draft, went second to Dallas. It is the third time within the historical past of the draft that the highest two picks had been from the identical program.

“To go 1-2 with Satou is a very cool feeling and exhibits all of the onerous work we went by means of this yr paid off,” Ionescu mentioned. “Actually pleased with her and what we had been in a position to do as teammates and excited to see her future within the execs.”

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 within the 1998 draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.

WATCH | Gigi Bryant named honorary draftee:

The WNBA honoured the late Alyssa Altobelli, Gianna Bryant and Payton Chester, who had been killed alongside NBA Corridor of Famer Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on January 26. 2:56

South Carolina gamers Mikiah Herbert Harrigan and Tyasha Harris went sixth and seventh to Minnesota and Dallas. The Gamecocks completed No. 1 within the AP ballot this season.

Chicago selected Ruthy Hebard with the eighth choose — marking the fifth consecutive season and ninth total that three school teammates had been taken within the opening spherical.

“Actually exhibits what sort of setting we had at Oregon,” Sabally mentioned.

New York took UConn’s Megan Walker with the ninth choose. Phoenix picked Jocelyn Willoughby of Virginia 10th. Seattle took former South Florida star Kitija Laksa with the 11th choose and New York closed out the primary spherical drafting Jazmine Jones from Louisville.

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.

Cox’s sister doused her with confetti after her title was introduced.

“It was actually enjoyable and we made essentially the most of it,” Cox mentioned.

Coaches and basic managers had been unfold all through the nation and world, in order that they arrange digital warfare rooms as an alternative of gathering in their very own workforce services.

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

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

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

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

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

“I believe it was a really stunning factor that the WNBA did to have the ability to draft these three ladies,” Ionescu mentioned. “They deserved it. I do know they’re trying down and smiling and actually excited.”



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