New York Liberty rookie Sabrina Ionescu found out that WNBA opponents are unwilling to give her a honeymoon period in the league, instead swarming her with defensive attention from the start.
Ionescu struggled to face the Seattle Storm’s aggressive approach in a debut loss of 87-71, shooting 4-of-17 off the floor with four turns. She missed all eight of her 3-point attempts.
Still, the No. 1 overall pick from Oregon filled the box score, as she so often did in college, showing her tendency to be her team’s best offensive option. She finished the game with 12 points, six boards and four assists.
Here’s Ionescu’s first bucket as a pro:
MORE: Ionescu was close to Kobe Bryant
Ionescu became a national star in Oregon that carried more hype than almost any other female colleague player. She became the first-ever NCAA player to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Many expected her to finish her decorated career in Eugene with a national championship – an opportunity seized by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Liberty is optimistic. Ionescu can accelerate their reconstruction and bring them from the bottom of the Eastern Conference to the contestant’s contender. They went 10-24 and 7-27 in 2018 last year.
In Saturday’s loss, New York security guard Kia Nurse went down with a sprained ankle. The severity of the injury is not yet known.