Sabrina Ionescu: 'Meant a Lot' to Hear from LeBron, More NBA Stars After Debut

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 1, 2020

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu (20) pushes the ball up the court during the first half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

New York Liberty rookie guard Sabrina Ionescu discussed her opening two professional games, hearing from current and former NBA stars following her debut and facing off against ex-Ducks teammate Satou Sabally in a matchup with the Dallas Wings in her latest diary entry for the Associated Press.

The ex-Oregon point guard shot just 4-of-17 and missed all eight of her three-pointers in an 87-71 defeat to the Seattle Storm to open her pro career, but facing off against a team with superstars such as Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart is a tall task for any rookie, even one as decorated as Ionescu.

The consensus NCAA player of the year discussed the messages she received from NBA players afterward:

"I got back to my hotel room and I had so many texts and messages from people congratulating me on my first game. There really is such a cool relationship between the NBA and WNBA as they definitely support us. Just seeing so many of them in the orange WNBA hooded sweatshirt over the weekend was awesome.

"It meant a lot to me to hear from so many of the NBA guys, including LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Ja Morant and Steve Nash. They told me that I looked poised and that I was going to have a great career."

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Ionescu also said that she spoke with Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry over FaceTime to discuss her performance.

Whatever she learned from that FaceTime chat apparently worked as she dominated the Wings in her second game with 33 points, seven assists and seven rebounds. The Libs lost 93-80, but Ionescu caught fire en route to shooting 11-of-20 (6-of-10 from three-point range).

"I knew if I was open to shoot it," Ionescu wrote. "That’s what I did in the second game and I was able to hit a few. Once the first couple went in, my confidence grew."

Ionescu faced off against Sabally in a faceoff of the top two 2020 WNBA draft picks, and the Libs guard discussed that experience:

"It was also nice seeing Satou out there for Dallas, although it was a little weird seeing her in a different jersey. I had to get used to not passing to her. I’m always going to be rooting for her.

"Although, I did tell her on the free throw line ‘don’t miss’ with a smile. She looked back at me and winked after she made it. We went through so much at Oregon, we’ll always be on the same team forever."

Sabally finished with 12 points.

Ionescu scored 10 points in 12 minutes in her third game against the Atlanta Dream on Saturday, but she suffered a sprained left ankle and was forced to exit in the second quarter.

Hopefully, she's able to return to the court shortly and build off the momentum from her last couple games as she and the rest of the Libs look for their first win.

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