Sabrina Ionescu Bounced Back From A Rough Debut With 33 Points Against The Wings

Sabrina Ionescu is the expected future of the WNBA, as the 2020 first overall pick by the New York Liberty had a record-breaking college career at Oregon and has been considered the consensus top WNBA prospect for two seasons, after deciding in 2019 to return to school for her senior season.

The WNBA schedule did her few favors for her debut appearance, as the Liberty had to face the 2018 champs in the Seattle Storm in Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird’s first games back after missing last season with injuries. The Storm blitzed Ionescu from the start and applied tremendous pressure to her, giving her few easy looks and trying to force the ball out of her hands. While there were flashes of her immense talent, it was a tough first game, but on Wednesday night she bounced back in a major way against the Dallas Wings with 33 points, seven rebounds, and seven assists.

The Liberty lost, 93-80, despite Ionescu’s efforts, which is expected to happen a good bit this season as the Liberty try to rebuild with an extremely young team around Sabrina. Still, it was great to see Ionescu show all the facets of her game that made her such a start at Oregon and the presumptive next face of the WNBA. She got it going from three-point range, hitting 6-of-10 from distance, and was 11-of-20 from the field overall, while also showing off her tremendous vision to set up her teammates.

Getting the rest of the team going will be the challenge for the Liberty, as Layshia Clarendon was the only other member of the Liberty to score in double figures with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting as New York shot just 42.5 percent from the field as a team.

For the young Wings, it was Arike Ogunbowale who led the way with 20 points, along with 13 from Moriah Jefferson, and 12 each from Katie Lou Samuelson and Ionescu’s former Oregon teammate Satou Sabally.

The game featured 10 rookies in total, a record for a WNBA game, as some of the league’s bright future was on display in Bradenton. Dallas was able to pick up its first win of the season and even their record at 1-1, and while New York will enter Friday’s game against Atlanta at 0-2, Ionescu offered a reminder of her tremendous talents and why there’s plenty of reason for optimism with the Liberty’s future around her.