More History: Ionescu Wins Naismith Trophy


EUGENE, Ore. – Sabrina Ionescu won her fifth national player of the year award on Friday morning, becoming the first Oregon player ever to take home the Citizen Naismith Trophy presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.

Ionescu is the eighth Pac-12 player ever to win the Naismith Trophy, and the first since Kelsey Plum in 2017. Ionescu has now won both the Naismith and the Wade Trophy, and has also been named the national player of the year by the Associated Press, USBWA and

“This one is definitely special,” Ionescu said on CBS Sports HQ after the award announcement. “I couldn’t have been able to do this without my coaches and teammates. We grew together all year long and being able to play alongside them was certainly a blessing.”

Ionescu is the fifth consecutive senior to win the women’s award, and 24th overall, since the Citizen Naismith Trophy was first presented to the late Anne Donovan (Old Dominion) in 1983.

The NCAA all-time leader with 26 career triple-doubles and the only player in history with 2,000 career points (2,562), 1,000 assists (1,091) and 1,000 rebounds (1,040), Ionescu is a unanimous first-team all-American for the third straight year after a stellar senior season. The Walnut Creek, Calif., was also the Pac-12 player of the year for the third season in a row, averaging 17.5 points, a career-high 8.6 rebounds and an NCAA-leading 9.1 assists per game while leading the Ducks to a 31-2 overall record and a sweep of the Pac-12 regular-season and tournament titles.

Ionescu is on the cusp of a complete sweep of the national player of the year awards, with the Wooden Award – which she won last season – set to be announced on Monday. Ionescu is also a finalist for the AAU James E. Sullivan Award, the Honda Sport Award and the Nancy Lieberman Award (national point guard of the year), and she took home the Senior CLASS Award earlier this week.
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Ionescu matched her own single-season record with eight triple-doubles in 2019-20, and she was incredibly efficient from the field with a career-best 51.8 field goal percentage. The senior led the Pac-12 with a 92.1 free throw percentage, and she broke the UO record with 34 straight made free throws midway through the season. In addition to leading the nation in assists, Ionescu ranked fourth in the NCAA with an impressive 3.05 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Ionescu’s storied career ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 health crisis, but she led the Ducks to the Pac-12 Tournament championship in her final game while earning the tournament’s most outstanding player award for the second time in the last three years. Ionescu averaged 23.3 points, 9.3 rebounds and 9.0 assists per game during the conference tournament, headlined by a 31-point performance in the semifinals against Arizona.

The Pac-12 all-time assists leader for both men and women, Ionescu wraps her career at No. 4 in NCAA women’s basketball history with 1,091, and she also holds Oregon’s program records for points, three-pointers (329) and double-figure scoring games (134).

Ionescu was chosen as the Naismith Trophy winner by the Atlanta Tipoff Club’s national voting academy, comprised of leading media members from around the country, current and former head coaches, former award winners and conference commissioners, all of whom based their selections on outstanding on-court performances during the 2019-20 regular college basketball season. Ionescu was announced as the women’s winner, while Dayton’s Obi Toppin was selected as the men’s winner.

“Though the 2019-2020 season was cut short, both Toppin and Ionescu undeniably deserve the Citizen Naismith Trophy,” said Eric Horowitz, managing director U.S., Citizen Watch Company of America, Inc. “These two extraordinary athletes exemplify everything the Citizen Naismith Trophy represents with their steadfast passion, dedication and unrivaled talent. We congratulate Sabrina and Obi for their dedication and drive.”