As Ionescu ties assist record, her indispensability becomes even more evident
Another game, another record for Sabrina Ionescu.
In Saturday’s 114-87 win over Weber State, Ionescu tied Oregon’s single-game assist record with 14. Her performance once again showed just how valuable she is for the team.
“I didn’t even know about this record, to be honest,” Ionescu said. “So I had no idea about that one.”
Finishing with a double-double, adding 21 points to her 14 assists, Ionescu, still only a sophomore, was three rebounds shy of tying the NCAA record of seven career triple-doubles.
“The only [record] I hear about is the triple-double record,” Ionescu said. “But like coach says, I have another two-and-a-half seasons to get that so I might make you guys wait till my senior season.”
The absence of junior Maite Cazorla, Ionescu’s fellow starting guard for the 1-2 punch in the backcourt for the Ducks, was barely felt. Cazorla, who sat out with a leg injury, had 47 assists on the year going into Saturday’s game. Ionescu had 49.
“I think I stole some of her assists this game because we usually balance each other out with assists, so it was definitely a little different but I’m getting more comfortable at playing the one,” Ionescu said. “I’m gonna play whatever position I need to in order for us to win and succeed.”
Oregon’s offense rarely slowed down the game’s pace. Much of that was thanks to Ionescu’s aggressiveness in transition. Without Cazorla, Ionescu proved her capability of being the team leader in the attack by taking control of the game’s tempo and driving at Weber State’s defense.
“I’m not really used to bringing the ball up the whole way up the court,” Ionescu said.
Whether she’d keep it and go for a layup, pull up and hit a 3-pointer — which she scored 4-of-5 — or dish it out to a player along the perimeter, Ionescu found a way to get Oregon points. Her unselfish play still contained 10 shots, seven of which she scored.
In most cases, Ionescu’s assists come from quick releases. She’ll have the ball at the top of the three-point arc, look up and then spot an open teammate in or around the paint.
She did just that on her record-tying 14th assist of the game.
— Oregon Women’s Basketball (@OregonWBB) December 2, 2017
Ionescu, who led the Ducks to an Elite Eight last year in her freshman season, is ranked No. 8 in ESPNW’s top-25 players list. She was also ESPNW’s national freshman of the year last year.
Those accolades don’t loom over her as she keeps her mentality focused on one thing: the team.
“I’m all in for the team so as long as we continue to grow every game and continue to win, the records don’t really matter to me, personally,” she said.
Follow Shawn Medow on Twitter @ShawnMedow
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