2020.03.01.EMG.DLY.WBB.UO.VS.UW.-13.jpg

Graduating players from left to right: Ruthy Hebard (24), Satou Sabally (0), Sabrina Ionescu (20), and Minyon Moore (23) pose for a photo. Oregon Ducks women’s basketball takes on University of Washington at the Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene, Ore. on Mar 1, 2020. (DL Young/Emerald)

Friday was a historic night for the Oregon women's basketball program, with three of the biggest stars from the 2019-20 Pac-12 champions selected in the Top 10.

Sabrina Ionescu goes No. 1 overall to New York

For the first time in school history, the first overall pick in the WNBA Draft is an Oregon Duck.

Sabrina Ionescu, one of the most visible athletes in women’s sports, was officially announced as the new face of the New York Liberty in the 2020 WNBA Draft on Friday. Ionescu and the Liberty have been on an inevitable crash course immediately following the conclusion of the Draft Lottery in September, and the fortunes of the franchise are expected to fall squarely on the 22-year-old college superstar from Walnut Creek, California.

The build-up for Ionescu’s arrival in the Big Apple had reached a fever pitch in recent days. New York unveiled a teal-laden rebrand in preparation for the Ionescu era, and Wednesday’s blockbuster trade of former All-Star Tina Charles now gives the team five top-15 picks, including the Ionescu selection at No. 1.

Ionescu’s Oregon team looked poised to capture the school’s first national championship before the season was cut short in March; a WNBA title has eluded the Liberty since the franchise’s inception in 1997. With Ionescu leading a reloaded young New York roster, first-ever championships could be on the horizon for the partnership that was made official on Friday evening.

Satou Sabally goes No. 2 to Dallas

It didn’t take long for the next Duck to hear her name called at the 2020 Draft.

With the second overall pick, the Dallas Wings selected junior forward Satou Sabally in the first 1-2 college combination atop the WNBA Draft since UConn’s trio was drafted 1-2-3 in 2016. The 6-foot-4 Sabally will provide instant length and playmaking alongside 19-point-per-game scorer Arike Ogunbowale. 

Since the franchise’s move from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Dallas, Texas in 2016, the team has not once posted a winning record. In 2019, the Wings went just 10-24 and followed by losing franchise player Skylar Diggins-Smith to Phoenix in free agency. With Sabally now in the fold, Dallas has a potential young star to build around as it continues to find its bearings in North Texas.

Ruthy Hebard off the board at No. 8

The Chicago Sky completed the Oregon first-round trifecta at pick No. 8, selecting senior forward Ruthy Hebard.

A four-year starter and first-team All-American, Hebard left no doubt that she was one of the most dominant interior presences at the college level. Now, the next step will be to carry that dominance to the professional level, where she’ll team up with Courtney Vandersloot in the Windy City.

Hebard’s first-round selection marks the first time since UConn in 2018 that a college program had three of its players selected in the first round.

Brady Lim is a sports reporter, currently covering the beat for Ducks football and the Eugene Emeralds. Brady is originally from San Diego, California and is a senior at the University of Oregon.