New York Liberty select Sabrina Ionescu to revive the franchise

Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Sabrina Ionescu, New York Liberty (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) /

The New York Liberty did as everyone expected by selecting collegiate standout Sabrina Ionescu with the top pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft.

The 2020 WNBA Draft took place virtually, due to the countrywide social distancing imposed for the coronavirus pandemic. The New York Liberty had the top overall pick and, with no surprise, selected Sabrina Ionescu out of Oregon. The Ducks senior was the highest-rated college basketball player over the last two seasons, breaking several records.

Ionescu had an amazing NCAA-record 26 triple-doubles in her UO career. She is the first player in college basketball to hit the 2,000, 1,000, 1,000 level in points (2,562), rebounds (1,040), and assists (1,091). Ionescu averaged 17.5 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 9.1 assists while starting every game last season for the 31-2 Oregon squad, who were winners of the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles.

Ionescu spoke about moving to Brooklyn after the draft in a conference call as transcribed by the New York Post.

"“The fact that I’ll be able to be in Brooklyn and have a platform and a voice in kind of the mecca of the world is going to be amazing,” Ionescu said on a conference call. “I’m just excited for that opportunity, having done it in Eugene and changing the way people view women’s sports in Eugene. Just excited to take that with me to Brooklyn and hopefully use it for a bigger good in that bigger marketplace.”"

New York took UConn forward Megan Walker, Louisville players Jazmine Jones, and Kylee Shook. Duke’s Leaonna Odom and Rice’s Erica Ogwumike were taken in the second round. Virginia’s Jocelyn Willoughby was added from Phoenix in the third round, via a trade.

One of the league’s original franchises the New York Liberty needs to bounce back and reward the many fans that continue to support the team regardless of the record. The Liberty was able to secure a new home for the upcoming season in Brooklyn at The Barclays Center as a co-tenant to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.

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As the Liberty look to a very young roster in 2020, the franchise has a new face with the departure of all-time scoring leader Tina Charles. New York has a woeful record of 17-51 over the last two seasons, which earned them a win in the draft lottery last September. Ionescu will be given the keys immediately to turn the team into perennial winners.