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Sabrina Ionescu wins Wade Trophy for National Women’s Player of the Year

TAMPA, Fla. — Sabrina Ionescu is the best college women’s basketball player in America.

Ionescu, the UO junior guard with 18 career triple-doubles, was named winner of the Wade Trophy on Wednesday as national player of the year in NCAA Division-I women’s basketball. The Wade Trophy is awarded by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to a player who not only excels athletically but serves as a positive role model on and off the court.

The Wade Trophy was presented to Ionescu on Wednesday at a ceremony in Amalie Arena, site of this weekend’s Final Four.

“I’m at a loss for words,” said Ionescu, the first UO women and fifth Pac-12 player ever to win the Wade Trophy. “Truly honored and humbled to receive this award. Couldn’t be here without my team and coaches and everyone along the way, so thank you guys so much.”

Ionescu is the two-time reigning Pac-12 player of the year and a two-time first-team all-American according to The Associated Press, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. The Wade Trophy winner is picked from among the first-team selections by the WBCA; Ionescu’s teammates Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally received honorable mention on the WBCA all-America team.

Also Wednesday, Ionescu was honored with the Nancy Lieberman Award as national point guard of the year. She won that award for the second season in a row.

“I’m really proud of you and what you’ve done for the game of basketball,” Lieberman said when presenting the award to Ionescu. “It’s an honor to give you the point guard of the year award.”

As a junior, Ionescu is averaging 19.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. She had 31 points in Oregon’s Elite Eight win over Mississippi State this past Sunday, propelling the Ducks to their first Final Four appearance, against Baylor on Friday (4 p.m. PT, ESPN2).

Ionescu has an NCAA single-season record eight triple-doubles this season, extending her career total to 18, also an NCAA record — for either women or men. She had a UO single-game record 17 assists on Dec. 2 against Long Beach State, and tied her Pac-12 Tournament single-game record with 13 assists in a quarterfinal game against Arizona on March 8.

The Wade Trophy is named for the late Lily Margaret Wade, who coached Delta State to three national championships. It was first presented in 1978 by SHAPE America/National Association of Girls & Women in Sports.

A junior from Walnut Creek, Calif., Ionescu also is on the ballot for the Naismith Trophy and Wooden Award, which also select a national player of the year.

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