WNBA: Sabrina Ionescu starting to realize her potential in year 3

Sabrina Ionescu enter the WNBA three seasons ago with high expectation and after several ups and downs the first two seasons of her pro career, the New York Liberty is starting to realize the potential, as possibly, one of the best players in the league.

After the end of the WNBA regular season, the Liberty clinched a playoff berth despite their slow star. This season was one full of milestone for the former Oregon Ducks standout, who finished the season averaging 17.4 points, 7.1 rebounds and 6.3 assists.

With four games remaining in the regular season, she became the first player to record 500-plus points, 200-plus rebounds and 200-plus assists in the 26-season history of the WNBA. Prior to that, he set the record for the most points with a triple-double.

On July 6, Ionescu tallied 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to post the highest-scoring triple-double in WNBA history. The triple-double was also the third of her career, tying Candace Parker for the most in league history.

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As an Oregon basketball player, her record of triple-doubles in a season for either men’s or women’s basketball will stand for quite a while having 26 career triple-doubles in the two-year span she remained in the NCAA.

The Liberty were able to sneak into the playoffs again as the 7th seed as Ionescu led New York to a 5-2 finish in the month of August where the Liberty revived and realized their playoff aspirations.

Ionescu averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.1 steals per game on 41.9% (44-105) shooting from the field, including two games of 30-plus points, through New York’s seven-game August slate.

Her efforts led to an AP All-WNBA First Team nod alongside Breanna Stewart (Seattle Storm), A’Ja Wilson (Las Vegas Aces), Candace Parker (Chicago Sky) and Kelsey Plum (Las Vegas Aces). That was the first time in her career to receive that honor.

Last season, the Liberty lost their single-elimination playoff game, 83-82, to the Phoenix Mercury. The Liberty will have the chance to rectify that loss in a best-of-three series vs the reigning WNBA champions Chicago Sky in the WNBA 2022 playoffs.

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