We’ll Always Wonder What Could Have Been With Sabrina, Oregon Ducks

By JUDAH NEWBY | 750 The Game

Sunday’s national championship game between LSU and Iowa drew nearly 10 million viewers on ABC, making it the most-watched women’s college basketball game ever.

With attention on the sport at an all-time high, fans in our area naturally think of what could have been with the 2019-20 Oregon Ducks women’s basketball team. Led by a pair of First Team All-Americans in Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard, that Oregon squad were among the favorites to win the national title.

Instead, the coronavirus pandemic shut down the women’s college hoops season – and the world – before we got a chance to see Oregon take aim at their ultimate goal.

“Sabrina Ionescu and Oregon not getting a chance to go to that Final Four in that covid-canceled season goes down as the big sports tragedy, or the sports loss, that we had in that time,” John Canzano said on 750 The Game. “From our standpoint as a state, Oregon was humming. Sabrina was going to win the national championship. Her teammates, Ruthy Hebard, Satou (Sabally), they were going to cut down the nets. Kelly Graves was going to win the national title.”

Ionescu became the number-one overall pick by the New York Liberty a few months later. She was watching Iowa’s historic upset of South Carolina in the national semifinal last Friday and apparently seemed to reminisce on the disappointing conclusion to her own collegiate career in Eugene.

Iowa’s Caitlin Clark has drawn some comparisons to Ionescu over the last few weeks with her get-out-your-seat three-point shooting and viral on-court moments on social media. Both players have certainly grown the popularity of the game. But Canzano pointed out that statistically speaking, Ionescu remains in a class of her own.

“It’s interesting, when you look at Caitlin Clark, eleven triple-doubles now, she trails Sabrina Ionescu by fifteen,” Canzano said. “She doesn’t even half the triple-doubles. I think Sabrina was a better defender in college. I think they’re both great competitors. I think Caitlin Clark is very creative, her shooting range is bigger.

“I’ll take Sabrina, if we’re picking up teams. Kelly Graves told me – ‘1-A and 1-B’ – I tend to agree with that. I think both of those players were going to be a problems for opposing teams.”

Sabrina herself paid Clark a compliment on twitter after her record-setting national semifinal performance that sent Iowa to the national championship.

Comparisons aside, at least fans of the Hawkeyes got to see their team get their shot in a title game. Oregon players and their fans will always wonder what could have been had they also had their opportunity.

“I think Oregon was going to win a national championship and cut down the nets,” Canzano said. “And we didn’t get to see it.”

Listen to John Canzano’s comments around the twenty minute mark of Monday’s show below. And hear John deliver the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.

@JudahNewby

 

 

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