It will come as no surprise to those who closely followed the Oregon women’s basketball team this season that the Ducks always had the advantage at three positions on the floor.
That was confirmed on Monday when the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association named Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Satou Sabally as the nation’s best at their positions on the "Naismith Starting 5." The Ducks are the first team to ever have three players on that team in the same season.
Ionescu, who also finished off a sweep of all six national player of the year honors on Monday, received the Nancy Lieberman Award, given to the NCAA’s top point guard, for the third year in a row. She joins former UConn star Sue Bird as the only players to win the award three straight seasons.
Hebard received the Katrina McLain Award, given to the nation’s top power forward, for the second time. Sabally earned the Cheryl Miller Award, given to the top small forward, for the first time.
"I’ve heard some folks say that we’re a one-person show," Oregon coach Kelly Graves said. "This just goes to show that, no, we weren’t. And I also think it goes to show that this was going to be a tough team to beat."
The honors came one day after what would have been the NCAA women’s basketball national championship game in New Orleans had the tournament not been canceled due to COVID-19. Oregon was set up for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament after finishing 31-2, winning the Pac-12 Tournament title as well as the conference’s regular-season championship with a 17-1 record.
"We were primed," Graves said. "We had the talent. We were playing well. I just didn't see there was going to be anything to stop us."
Ionescu also earned the Wooden Award on Monday to add to her unanimous collection of player of the year awards. She also received the Naismith and Wade trophies along with honors from The Associated Press, United States Basketball Writers Association and ESPN.com.
Ionescu averaged 17.5 points per game and led the nation with 9.1 assists per game. She also averaged 8.6 rebounds per game and set the NCAA record with 26 career triple doubles.
"Being able to play with my teammates, we had some great wins as we were able to beat Team USA and beat a lot of ranked teams," Ionescu told ESPN Monday afternoon. "Sharing those moments with my teammates is something I will never forget and always cherish."
The senior, who is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft next week, is the only player in NCAA history with more than 2,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. The three-time Pac-12 player of the year also is the conference’s all-time leader with 1,091 assists, which ranks fourth in NCAA history.
Hebard, who also won the Katrina McLain Award as a sophomore, averaged 17.3 points per game this season and led the Pac-12 with 9.6 rebounds. Her field-goal percentage of 68.5 was the best in the country.
Sabally, a junior who will leave Oregon to enter the NBA Draft, averaged 16.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game this season.
Arizona’s Aari McDonald won the Ann Meyers Drysdale Award for the top shooting guard and Aliyah Boston of South Carolina earned the Lisa Leslie Award for top center.