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April 17, 2020

Sabrina Ionescu

New York, New York

Q. What part of your game are you looking to work on the most? And also, what can the Liberty expect from you?
SABRINA IONESCU: I'm looking to do everything that I possibly can to get better in every aspect, whether that's scoring, defending, rebounding, passing. I'm really just excited to be playing against professionals and learning from them and just seeing where that takes me.

Q. I just wanted to know how do you think your game will translate in the WNBA, and just to piggy-back off the last question, what do you think you can bring to the W?
SABRINA IONESCU: I just think being a part of a younger team and just trying to learn from them and seeing where I fit in, what role I'm going to play, is exciting. Bringing a competitive spirit that I have. I'm just excited to get there and work with the team and hopefully just continue to use my platform and what I did at Oregon and bring that to the Liberty.

Q. When you look at the Liberty offense, what excites you most about joining Walt Hopkins' system, and how will it feel to play with Asia Durr and Kia Nurse?
SABRINA IONESCU: They have great guards there, with their ability to shoot and spread the floor out, but also run in transition. Walt runs a great offense. The pick-and-roll is something that I'm familiar with. Being able to enter an offense where it's been really similar to what I've been playing with the last four years is exciting. I'm just excited to continue to grow my game in that aspect.

Q. I wanted to confirm the report that you've signed with Nike. And as you're waiting to see when Ruthy [Hebard] goes, if she does end up in New York, what will that mean to you if that does end up happening?
SABRINA IONESCU: I'm just excited for Ruthy to be able to play professionally regardless of where she ends up, but I'm hoping it's New York. I would be really, really excited to be able to share that with her and be able to be on the same team with her like I have been for the last four years and continue to grow our relationship and our on-the-court play. I'm praying she ends up in New York as well, but I know whatever team gets her will be a great fit for her.

Q. Have you signed with Nike?
SABRINA IONESCU: Yes, I have signed with Nike.

Q. I just wanted to ask you what was your thought process going into today with the draft being a little bit different?
SABRINA IONESCU: Of course it was different than what I had expected, and just excited to be able to be here with my family and the people closest to me and be able to spend this time. Making the most out of what's going on in today's society. Just really happy to be able to spend this moment with them and excited to have gone through this process.

Q. What did it mean to watch the beginning of the draft show when they honored the three kids you knew pretty well from the Mamba Academy? And what does it mean to have you guys, you and Satou [Sabally], be the third set of teammates to go one-two in the draft?
SABRINA IONESCU: I think it was a very beautiful thing that the WNBA did to be able to draft those three girls. They deserved it. I know they're looking down and smiling and really excited. Obviously, being able to go 1 and 2 with Satou is a really cool feeling and just kind of shows all the hard work that we put in this year to get to this point paid off. So really proud of her and what we were able to do as teammates and excited to see her future in the pros.

Q. I'm just curious, this is such a long time coming for you. When your name was picked, when it actually happened, what's just the first thing that was coming through your mind? What were you thinking of in that moment?
SABRINA IONESCU: Just that I'm blessed. I think I've been working for this for my entire basketball career, and just super excited to be able to see that come to fruition. I'd just say obviously very humbled and excited for the opportunity.

Q. You saw the three girls being drafted by the WNBA, and you have sparked lots of girls to be just like you. How does it feel when a girl comes up to you, recognizes you and acknowledges your basketball game? What is your thought process when you go about that, and how do you feel?
SABRINA IONESCU: Yeah, I was that little girl growing up looking for someone as a source of inspiration, and so just being able to pay that back and do everything that I can to use my platform and give back to the younger generations is really what it's all about.

Q. How are you looking forward to making an impact in a city that is a haven for social justice and overall just community philanthropy?
SABRINA IONESCU: I'm going to use my platform and do everything I can. Obviously, it starts with basketball, hoping to get people to buy into the team and show up to games. But just using our platform as a women's basketball player to do more than just that. I'm excited to stand for something more than just being a basketball player in that city and using it for a bigger purpose.

Q. I just wanted to sort of follow up on that last question. I know at Kobe's memorial service you talked about wanting to be an inspiration for the next generation, so being female doesn't mean being born behind. How much do you think it'll help you to be in a city the size of New York and in a media capital and how important is that message going to be to your platform?
SABRINA IONESCU: It's going to be huge. The fact that I'll be able to be in Brooklyn and have a platform and a voice in kind of the mecca of the world is going to be amazing. 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.

Q. What would you tell your younger self about this day?
SABRINA IONESCU: That it's worth it. I guess that it's worth all the long nights, early mornings of going in and doing all the extra work. This is really what it's all about. I'm so excited for this opportunity, but not settling here. I'm just excited to continue evolving my game and doing more.

Q. I know you said you've only been to New York twice, but what excites you most about the potential of playing here?
SABRINA IONESCU: I mean, everything, honestly. I've been on the West Coast for my entire life. I think just being able to leave and go there and be excited by all the new things I see and everything that I learn in the city. Then obviously just playing in Brooklyn, where everyone loves basketball, and being able to be a part of that organization is really exciting.

Q. I know there's a lot on your shoulders, but have you thought at all about just sort of the momentum that women's basketball as a sport has had lately and your responsibility kind of in carrying that over?
SABRINA IONESCU: I know that there is a lot of pressure, but I think I'm really just excited to take that on and see where it takes me and just excited to use that as motivation to continue to get better in all aspects of my game. I'm really just seeing the positive side of all of that and just excited for the next opportunity.

Q. New York City craves for a player, men or woman, who will be able to make the fans proud again. Do you see yourself as this player?
SABRINA IONESCU: Yeah, for sure. I'm definitely going to be embracing the community and taking them as part of our team there in New York. I'm excited to get there and get to know the fans and bring them into the arena and just have them buy in to the team.

Q. Is it any kind of relief to have this pick be done? And there's been so much talk this week; do you feel any pressure going into your new situation in New York?
SABRINA IONESCU: Yeah, it is really relieving. It is really a blessing to be able to go 1. No, I don't feel any pressure. I'm just excited to continue to learn. There's going to be ups and downs, but I'm just excited to take that head on and continue to grow my game.

Q. We've heard you mention Ruthy a few times and of course Oregon teammates went 1-2. What's it like in your living room right now as all of you guys are cheering on your teammate and as you've gone through this experience, the three of you?
SABRINA IONESCU: We're all so excited for each other. We've been talking to each other this entire time about this day. So I'm just super excited to see where [Hebard] goes. She deserves it and Satou deserves it. Just really blessed and excited to be able to share this moment with them.

Q. I actually want to take this back a little. When you think of the New York Liberty, particularly at the guard position, who are some of the players that you are familiar with from this original WNBA franchise?
SABRINA IONESCU: I've played with Asia for the last three years at USA Basketball, so I'm really familiar with her. And then I've played against Kia Nurse a few times. I'm definitely familiar with her as well. I'm just excited to get to know the rest of the team.

Q. Again thinking of all of the guards throughout the history of the Liberty, are there any guards in particular that you would like to model how they were able to handle their professional career in particular?
SABRINA IONESCU: I mean, everyone that's there, honestly. I know that they picked up [Layshia] Clarendon and she's been a great guard in the league, so just excited to learn from her, and she's had experience, and so I'm excited to learn from her on and off the court.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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