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Oregon Women's Basketball's 'Big Three' Set For Friday's WNBA Draft

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Oregon women’s basketball’s “Big Three” are looking forward to Friday’s WNBA draft. After winning the Pac-12 Championship, the Ducks hopes for a national title were dashed when the NCAA Tournament was cancelled due to Coronavirus concerns.

Women’s college basketball National Player of The Year Sabrina Ionescu is projected to be the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, with teammate Satou Sabally right behind her at No. 2, and Ruthy Hebard among the top 11. The three expected to travel to New York to attend the draft festivities in person, but instead the ceremony will be held virtually. 

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Oregon's Sabrina Ionescu holds a video conference with the media from her home in Walnut Creek, Calif. on April 14, 2020.

Speaking during a media video call from her home in California, Ionescu says she’s thrilled to be in their company for the draft. She said “it’s really cool to be able to have us three at the top especially just because we put pressure on ourselves this year to try and be the best and we made sure we all worked hard.  I’m just so excited to get to share that with them.”

Hebard shared similar sentiments from her home in Alaska: “I know we’re going to be texting each other and calling each other hopefully, and just celebrating with each other. I’m hoping that there’s a time we can all see each other again in Eugene or somewhere, so we can, you know, have one last little party.”

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Oregon's Ruthy Hebard speaks to members of the media in a video call from her home in Fairbanks, Alaska, on April 16, 2020.

Sabally, who is from Germany, will be watching with her sister and her roommates in Eugene. Sabally said “it’s just such a big accomplishment for Oregon basketball and I’m sad that I won’t be able to be with Ruthy and Sab, but I know we are all together in heart. It just means so much to be able to enter the draft with these two.”

Earlier this week each of them received packages from ESPN with tripods and other tech gear to get set up for the virtual draft. They were also sent a set of hats from the 12 different WNBA teams so they are ready to sport their new team's logo during the broadcast. 

The New York Liberty have this year’s No.1 pick, followed by the Dallas Wings with the No. 2 spot. Wherever the three Oregon standouts end up, they’ll have to wait to begin workouts with their new teams since the WNBA’s season has been put on hold due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Oregon's Satou Sabally speaks to the media from her home in Eugene, Ore. on April 16, 2020

The WNBA draft will be televised live on ESPN at 4 p.m. PT on Friday, April 17. 

Copyright 2020, KLCC

Love Cross joined KLCC in 2017. She began her public radio career as a graduate student, serving as Morning Edition Host for Boise State Public Radio in the late 1990s. She earned her undergraduate degree in Rhetoric and Communication from University of California at Davis, and her Master’s Degree from Boise State University. In addition to her work in public radio, Love teaches college-level courses in Communication and Public Speaking.
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