Sabrina Ionescu And Dawn Staley Were Awarded Annual AP Women’s Basketball Honors

The biggest name in college basketball just added another accolade to her list of honors. University of Oregon star guard Sabrina Ionescu was named AP’s Women’s Basketball Player of the Year on Monday. In doing so, Ionescu became only the second player in the award’s 25-year history to receive all of the votes, joining former UConn star Breanna Stewart as the only other unanimous pick in 2016.

In her historic senior season, Ionescu broke the NCAA record for most triple doubles in a single season with eight (26 total in her career) and became the first college basketball player in history to reach 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. The generational star gave us insane highlight plays, heartfelt speeches and watched as her jerseys sold out time and again while averaging 17.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds on the way to winning a second Pac-12 championship in four years.

Ionescu’s impact on Oregon and all of college basketball has been enormous. In January, she became the Ducks’ all-time leading scorer after dropping a career-high 37 points over Stanford. She also broke the program records for most double-figure scoring games in her career and all-time three pointers made. And during her time at Oregon, fans have shown out and ticket prices for the women’s basketball team have consistently increased each year — this year, tickets to see the women cost $50 per game while the men’s tickets went down to $29.

While we won’t get to see Ionescu attempt to lead the Ducks back to the finals of the NCAA 2020 Women’s College Basketball Tournament, we will always have her legendary season to look back on.

On the coaching side, Dawn Staley led South Carolina to the No. 1 seed and was named AP women’s basketball coach of the year for the first time in her 12-year coaching career. Staley became just the second African American coach to win the AP award, joining Carolyn Peck, who was honored in 1999 when she coached Purdue to its first-ever national championship.

Under Staley, South Carolina finished the season with a 32-1 record and were crowned SEC champions. The Gamecocks won their final 26 games and were No 1 in the AP poll for the final 10 weeks of the season. Staley also nabbed her first career win against UConn on Feb. 10 in which Tyasha Harris and Zia Cooke combined for 34 points and Harris dished 11 assists.

Staley received 2o votes from the AP panel, while Northwestern coach Joe McKeown had five votes, Oregon’s Kelly Graves garnered four votes and N.C. State coach Wes Moore received one.