Sabrina Ionescu is three-time conference player of the year, Kelly Graves is two-time coach of the year
Oregon’s dominance of the Pac-12 women’s basketball regular season has extended into awards season.
The coaches voted Sabrina Ionescu the conference’s player of the year for the third consecutive year.
The senior guard was a unanimous selection and joins Stanford’s Candice Wiggins (2005-6, 2008) as the only three-time Pac-12 player of the year selections.
Ionescu, the national player of the year favorite, is joined by teammates Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally on the 15-member all-conference team.
Kelly Graves is the Pac-12 coach of the year for the second consecutive season. Jody Runge (1994, 1999) is the only other Oregon coach to win the award twice.
Sophomore guard Taylor Chavez is the sixth player of the year. Senior guard Minyon Moore is on the all-defensive team. Freshman guard Jaz Shelley received honorable mention for the all-freshman team.
Ionescu and Hebard are the first players in Oregon history to make the all-Pac-12 team four times.
“It’s a great honor anytime your peers vote for you as a coach of the year. That's something very special, and I mean that wholeheartedly,” Graves said during a teleconference with the media after the awards were revealed on Tuesday. “Sabrina, having won three years in a row, and you would think it's a no-brainer, but she's got really good competition from her own teammates for that award. …
“We have a lot of really good players in this conference, but nobody really impacts the game like she does on the court and, quite frankly, off the court. So very well deserved.”
Ionescu is the only player in NCAA history to eclipse 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds in a career. Her 26 triple-doubles dwarf the previous mark of 12 set by BYU’s Kyle Collinsworth.
Ionescu is Oregon’s all-time leader in points (2,492), assists (1,064), 3-point field goals (318) and double-figure scoring games (131). Earlier this season, she became the Pac-12’s all-time assists leader, regardless of gender, passing Oregon State legend Gary Payton (938).
“Sabrina is changing the game,” Graves said after the Ducks' victory over Washington in the regular-season finale on Sunday. “There is no player in the history of college women’s basketball that is getting the attention she is. Not just because she’s a great player, but she’s getting crossover support from some of the greatest men’s basketball players in the world. Icons. And that just does not happen.
“She is making an impact for our sport that I think will be long lasting.”
Hebard, a senior forward, is Oregon’s career leader in made field goals (967) and is second in program history behind Ionescu in scoring (2,322).
“It’s just an honor to be able to come in with Sabrina and make some history with her,” Hebard said. “It’s great to see her get everything that she gets because she deserves it. It’s just so nice that I can be able to share it with her and have my name next to hers on a few things in the history books.”
Sabally was named the Pac-12 player of the week after averaging 23.0 points and 7.0 rebounds during Oregon’s wins over Stanford, Washington State and Washington.
During the Ducks’ 16-game winning streak, Sabally is averaging a team-high 18.6 points, shooting 48.5% from the floor and averaging 7.9 rebounds.
The 6-foot-4 junior recently announced she is entering the WNBA draft after the season.
“The Final Four is going to be the highlight of this year to me,” Sabally said. “Then I start a new chapter. I’m not even thinking beyond the Final Four.”
Chavez is averaging 6.4 points off the bench and is second in the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting percentage (43.7% overall, 47.8% in conference games).
“I’m really happy for Taylor,” Graves said. “Sometimes she gets lost, but she would start for most teams. She has really given us a boost and helped us win games as well.”
Moore, a USC graduate transfer, is on the all-defensive team for the third consecutive season after leading the Ducks with 51 steals while contributing 7.7 points and 4.1 assists per game on the offensive end.
“Most teams would have to say this is their last home game, but we’re fortunate enough to be in the running to be able to host,” Moore, who will play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time, said of the Ducks getting to play first- and second-round games at Matthew Knight Arena. “But we have to still take care of business every game, we still have to win the Pac-12 Tournament in (Las) Vegas. That’s where our eyes are now.”
Oregon is the only program with three all-conference players. Arizona’s Aari McDonald and Cate Reese, Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec and Destiny Slocum, UCLA’s Japreece Dean and Michaela Onyenwere and Stanford’s Lexie Hull and Kiana Williams made the list as duos.
McDonald is the Pac-12 defensive player of the year, and USC’s Alissa Pili is the freshman of the year.
Ionescu, Hebard and Sabally — Oregon’s “Big Three” — are among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy. Four finalists will be named on March 20 and the award for the best Division I player will be announced on April 4.
Iowa’s Megan Gustafson won the Naismith last year. Ionescu was the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award winner.
The Pac-12 awards, as voted on by the media covering the conference, will be released on Wednesday.
Top-seeded Oregon will play the No. 8 Utah-No. 9 Washington winner in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament on Friday at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas (2 p.m., Pac-12 Networks).
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