Ionescu picked first as WNBA draft kicks off under quarantine

FILE PHOTO: Jan 16, 2020; Eugene, Oregon, USA; Oregon Ducks guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) drives to the basket as Stanford Cardinal guard Lexie Hull (12) defends during the second half at Matthew Knight Arena. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Sabrina Ionescu was selected first overall in the WNBA’s draft on Friday, as quarantined coaches and players pivoted to an online format amid quarantine life in the COVID-19 era.

The University of Oregon guard, the first NCAA player to score 2,000 career points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists, was selected by the New York Liberty, as the franchise looks to rebuild after back-to-back seasons of lackluster performance.

“I’m going to enjoy this for a couple days but I’m excited to get out there and start working, get to know my team and get to know the coaching staff and really just get to work,” Ionescu said on the ESPN broadcast after being selected.

The 22-year-old pressed her hands to her face and smiled when her name was called before embracing family members from a remote location, saying she was looking forward to getting to know her new team in New York.

“I’m excited to learn from the players that are there, make new friendships and continue to grow in every aspect of the game,” she said.

Forward Satou Sabally, also out of the University of Oregon, was the second player selected, going to the Dallas Wings, and Baylor forward Lauren Cox was taken third by the Indiana Fever.

Reporting by Amy Tennery and Rory Carroll; Editing by Sandra Maler

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