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Ducks Soar in 2020 WNBA Draft

Oregon Athletics

The top eight players in Friday night’s WNBA Draft included Oregon’s “Big Three”, Sabrina Ionescu, Satou Sabally, and Ruthy Hebard. The draft was held in New York, with players taking part remotely.

Ionescu was chosen as the No. 1 overall pick by the New York Liberty. In a press call after the draft, Ionescu, speaking from her home in Walnut Creek, Calif., was asked about being an inspiration for the next generation. She said, “I'm just excited for that opportunity, having done it in Eugene and kind of changed the way people viewed women in sports in Eugene. Just excited to take that with me to Brooklyn and hopefully use it for a bigger good in that bigger marketplace.”

Ionescu also announced Friday that she signed a multi-year endorsement deal with Nike.

Teammate Satou Sabally was the second pick- she’ll head to Texas to play for the Dallas Wings.

Credit Oregon Athletics
Oregon's Satou Sabally throws an "O" to the crowd after a victory at Matthew Knight Arena. Sabally was selected by the Dallas Wings as the No. 2 pick in the WNBA Draft on Fri. April 17, 2020.

Sabally watched the draft from Eugene. She said having the top two picks come from Oregon speaks to the strength of their program. “It's so cool. You know, it just shows that we have built a great culture at Oregon, have recruited great players, and they got the right kind of practice and development. We really had the best support system around us.”

Ruthy Hebard was drafted as the eighth overall pick by the Chicago Sky. Speaking from her home in Fairbanks, Alaska, she said it was great to be able to be drafted with two teammates. While her hometown is planning a drive-by parade to celebrate her accomplishment, she said “I know if Eugene could have a party right now, it would probably be a pretty good party.”

Friday night, Ducks Head Coach Kelly Graves said on Twitter, “You know...amid everything that is going on in this world & everything that’s already gone on...today was a great day!”

Credit Oregon Athletics
Ruthy Hebard (24), shown here with Sabrina Ionescu (20), was selected by the Atlanta Dram in the April 17, 2020 WNBA Draft. She was the eighth overall pick.

Oregon State’s Mikayla Pivec was the first pick in the third round, and No. 25 overall. She’ll be playing for the Atlanta Dream.

The players drafted Friday are in a holding pattern due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. The regular season was scheduled to start May 15, but training camps and the regular season have been delayed indefinitely.

Credit Oregon State Athletics
Oregon State's Mikayla Pivec is heading to the Atlanta Dream. She was the first pick in the third round of the WNBA Draft on April 17, 2020.

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 Sociology.