Being isolated during the COVID-19 shutdown gave Satou Sabally time to develop a case of cold feet.


The dynamic Oregon forward, who announced in February that she planned to enter the WNBA draft following her junior season, wrestled with that decision until submitting her paperwork with the league on the April 7 deadline to officially declare herself eligible.


Sabally, of course, had planned to finish her collegiate career at the Final Four in New Orleans with senior stars Sabrina Ionescu and Ruthy Hebard.


There was also a chance her younger sister, redshirt freshman forward Nyara Sabally, was going to be healthy enough to play in the NCAA Tournament after recovering from a knee injury.


But instead of getting the chance to celebrate a national championship together, the Ducks began social distancing after the NCAA canceled its basketball tournaments.


"I was really unsure about everything. I feel the whole world was like that," Sabally said. "I didn’t know what should be my next step, if it’s the right decision to go pro or not due to all the circumstances. We still don’t know if there will be a WNBA season. It was kind of risky.


"On the other hand, I thought I was ready to leave and this was part of being a professional."


In terms of her WNBA stock, Sabally appears to have made the right call. She is expected to be picked by Dallas with the second pick after the New York Liberty takes Ionescu to begin Friday’s draft (4 p.m., ESPN).


"It would mean so much to me," Sabally said. "Being viewed as such a good player gives me so much joy and happiness, but it also shows that it pays off to work hard every day and just keep grinding."


Sabally, a second-team All-American and the Cheryl Miller Award winner as the nation’s top small forward, averaged 16.2 points and 6.9 rebounds last season.


During a video conference with reporters on Thursday, the Berlin import’s versatility was on full display as she answered several draft questions in German.


"It’s a big accomplishment for Oregon basketball. I’m sad that I won’t be able to be with Ruthy and Sab, but I know that we’re all together in heart," Sabally said. "It just means so much to enter the draft with these two. I’m super excited, and they are excited. Just having this as the finish mark of our last season and the beginning point of the next step means so much.


"It’s just finally the point where you can be like, ‘OK, this is the new beginning.’"


There is a chance Ionescu and Hebard will begin their professional careers together, if the Liberty is able to reunite the tandem using the No. 1 and No. 9 picks.


"I think about playing with her forever because she’s just one of my favorite best friends and such a good player," Hebard said of Ionescu. "I’m just trying to keep everything open, and wherever I go it’s going to be fun. I’m going to have a great time. It’s a great opportunity and such a blessing to be drafted."


Hebard, a first-team All-American along with Ionescu, is the NCAA record holder for consecutive field goals made (33) and the Pac-12’s all-time leader in career field-goal percentage (65.1%).


Dallas could also go double-Duck in the first round by taking Hebard, the Katrina McClain Award winner as the nation’s top power forward, at No. 5 or No. 7.


"I’m confident and know I can play with those great players," said Hebard, who finished second in Oregon history behind Ionescu in scoring (2,368 points) and third in rebounding (1,299). "Whatever team I go to the older players will be role models to me and help me out, just like they did at the USA (Basketball) camp.


"I’m excited to go to the next level. My game will be fine there."


Ionescu finished her career with an NCAA-record 26 triple-doubles and became the first player ever to reach 2,000 career points (2,562), 1,000 assists (1,091) and 1,000 rebounds (1,040).


The national player of the year averaged 17.5 points, a career-high 8.6 rebounds and an NCAA-leading 9.1 assists per game while leading the Ducks to their third consecutive outright Pac-12 regular-season title.


ESPN sent each of Oregon’s "Big Three" a technology kit to make sure they are prepared to participate in the live virtual draft.


"I’m not that tech savvy, so I’ll have to figure that part out," Ionescu said. "But I think it’s cool they’re doing something, trying to make it special as best as they can, just because this day isn’t as planned."


Senior guard Minyon Moore, another key cog in the Ducks’ 31-2 finish, could also be drafted in the second or third rounds.


"She has a generous soul and was the hardest fighter I’ve ever seen," Sabally said of Moore, who joined the program this season as a graduate transfer after playing her first three seasons at USC. "She came into practice ready every time, she was a vocal leader. … Her presence, it just converted to our team and it was amazing to have her."


This will be the first time in program history Oregon has had a player selected in the first round of the WNBA draft.


Ionescu will likely join George Shaw (1955 NFL) and Dave Roberts (1972 Major League Baseball) as the school’s only players selected No. 1 overall in a professional draft.


"It’s really cool to be able to have us three at the top, especially because of knowing how much we put pressure on ourselves this year to try and be the best," Ionescu said. "I’m just so excited to share that with them. It’s never been about me or us as individuals, it’s always been about us collectively."


Contact reporter Ryan Thorburn at rthorburn@registerguard.com or 541-338-2330, and follow him on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn and Instagram @rg_ducksports. Want more stories like this? Subscribe to get unlimited access and support local journalism.