When you have more triple-doubles than any player in NCAA history, who can blame you for hunting for a garbage-time rebound? By her own admission, University of Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu deliberately missed a late three-pointer yesterday to collect her 10th rebound, completing the 18th triple-double of her career in a 91-68 second-round win over the Indiana Hoosiers.
After the game, Ionescu sat down with ESPN’s Dave Pasch and LaChina Robinson, who asked her if she missed on purpose. The ever-candid junior didn’t back away from the question, admitting she added just a bit more rotation than normal to ensure the triple-double:
Ionescu’s 18 triple-doubles aren’t just an NCAA record for women’s basketball; she holds the overall record, besting BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth. Ionescu is well aware that her accomplishments don’t get as much attention as record-setters on the men’s side, though, and she reserves some blame for ESPN, which airs the tournament. After Sunday’s game, Ionescu said just that to Ronald Clark, from ABC affiliate KEZI:
The obvious comparison for Ionescu’s stats supremacy and her frank demeanor would be Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, right down to the occasional shameless stat-padding and the expressive outbursts on the court. Case in point, late in the first quarter, Ionescu scored a tough and-1, reacting by bellowing “get the fuck off me” while aggressively high-fiving her teammates:
Ionescu finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 12 assists on Sunday, helping push aside the overmatched Hoosiers on the Ducks’ home floor. Despite having one more year of eligbility, Ionescu may jump to the WNBA after the tournament, where she is projected to go as high as number one overall. To that end, according to the AP, a Ducks fan made her a simple plea during the game: “Come back next year!”
If she does stay, she could push the triple-double record to nigh-unreachable heights; she had eight this season, and even half of that next year would put her 10 ahead of second place. Ionescu gets another crack at adding to her legacy on March 30, when the second-seed Ducks take on either Syracuse or South Dakota State in the Sweet 16.