Sabrina Ionescu’s emotional roller coaster isn’t stopping.
No. 3 Oregon will honor its iconic star — as well as fellow seniors Ruthy Hebard and Minyon Moore and WNBA-bound junior Satou Sabally — on Sunday at Matthew Knight Arena.
The Ducks (26-2, 15-1) enter the final regular-season homestand on a 14-game winning streak after securing at least a share of their third consecutive Pac-12 regular-season championship with Monday’s 74-66 victory at No. 4 Stanford.
Ionescu’s remarkable day included delivering an inspiration eulogy at the Kobe Bryant memorial service in Los Angeles, dealing with flu-like symptoms in the locker room at Maples Pavilion and then recording her 26th triple-double while becoming the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists in a career.
Here are five takeaways from Oregon’s road sweep of the Bay Area schools:
1. Staples to Smoothie?
Ionescu was already on a mission to deliver a national championship to Oregon. That’s why she returned for her senior season.
But now that she’s playing to honor the memory of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, the reigning national player of the year has taken her game to even greater heights.
Ionescu has four triple-double performances in the last eight games and is averaging 18.3 points, 9.3 assists and 8.6 rebounds during the Ducks’ winning streak.
In the speech at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Ionescu credited a text from Kobe Bryant with taking some of the weight off her shoulders.
“I felt some pressure early on in this season, and he wrote: ‘Be you. That’s been good enough and it will continue to be good enough,’” Ionescu said.
Right now it’s hard to visualize another team preventing Ionescu and her Oregon teammates from cutting down the nets at the Final Four after the championship game on April 5 at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.
2. Kelly Graves just gets it
Oregon’s coach was unwavering in his support of Sabally’s decision to leave the program with a year of eligibility and enter the WNBA draft following the season.
“Pretty cool,” Graves said. “I’m happy for her. Selfishly, obviously disappointed in the sense that I’d love to have her come back and have a big year for us and help us.
“But she’s ready.”
Sabally’s dynamic talents were on display during the win at Stanford. The 6-foot-4 forward finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and two steals.
Being a top-five WNBA pick won’t provide Sabally with the instant fortune lottery picks in the NBA are paid — her base salary as a rookie will be $68,000 — but she will be realizing a childhood dream and in a position to help her family financially.
A lot of Graves’ peers wouldn’t be as supportive of a three-and-done decision by key player.
“He was like, 'I'm super happy for you, and just know that we all love you and you have full support,’” Sabally said during an interview with ESPN. “And I was just like, 'Phew.' I could finally breathe. That was just awesome."
3. The Duck 5K
Erin Boley was 8-for-9 on 3-pointers for a game-high 24 points during Oregon’s 93-61 victory at California on Friday.
During the winning streak, Boley is shooting 52.1% (50-for-96) behind the arc. The junior already ranks third on Oregon’s career list for made 3s with 175.
With 25 more points, Boley will become the fifth player in the starting lineup with 1,000 career points, joining Ionescu (2,467), Hebard (2,270), Sabally (1,433) and Minyon Moore (1,385).
“I think they’re the No. 1 team in the country,” Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said. “They have all the weapons.”
4. Ready for a reload
Boley will be the only returning starter next season, but that doesn’t mean Oregon will be slipping out of contention in the Pac-12.
Guards Taylor Chavez and Jaz Shelley would be starters already in most programs and are soaking up their time backing up Ionescu and Moore.
“We both realize the type of players we have on our team and we both know that we’re not going to be the stars,” Shelley said. “I think we’ve fit in really well that we know that’s not where we need to step in right now, but hopefully further down the track that could be our position. And we’re ready to wait.”
Two redshirt freshmen forwards — Nyara Sabally (6-foot-5) and Sedona Prince (6-7) — are sitting out this season and rehabbing significant leg injuries together.
Oregon’s 2020 recruiting class is ranked No. 1 nationally and comprised of five five-star McDonald’s All-Americans — 6-0 guard Sydney Parrish, 6-3 forward Kylee Watson, 5-11 guard Maddie Scherr, 6-4 forward Angela Dugalic and 5-9 guard Te-Hina Paopao.
5. Ducks and the G.O.A.T.
Ionescu is the greatest Oregon women’s basketball player of all time. She’s also entering the conversation with Cheryl Miller, Diana Taurasi, Breanna Stewart and other legends as the greatest women’s player to ever lace ‘em up.
If a Mount Rushmore of all-time Ducks athletes were commissioned by Phil Knight, Ionescu’s bust might be the first to be chiseled.
Track legends Ashton Eaton and Steve Prefontaine and Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota would probably join Ionescu in the granite.
Honorable mentions would include Dan Fouts, Joe Gordon, Ron Lee, John Miller, Ahmad Rashad, Mel Renfro, Bev Smith and Norm Van Brocklin.
“She drives me to be a better coach,” Graves said of coaching the program’s G.O.A.T. “I have to be prepared each and every day, I can’t have an off day.”
Follow Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @RGDuckFootball and email questions or Ducks Mt. Rushmore opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more Oregon sports coverage, visit DuckSports.com.