- Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women’s college basketball, and other college sports for espnW. Voepel began covering women’s basketball in 1984, and has been with ESPN since 1996.
BERKELEY, Calif. — Steph Curry brought his young daughters to see their first women’s basketball game Friday, and Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu put on another terrific performance in a 93-61 victory over Cal.
The Golden State Warriors star was on hand at Cal’s Haas Pavilion with daughters Riley and Ryan — along with many fans clad in Oregon green — to see Ionescu as she returned to play Friday near her hometown of Walnut Creek, California.
They witnessed Ionescu’s 25th career triple-double — 17 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
“It’s special just having so many people who haven’t seen me get [a triple-double] live, and be able to be in the building and watch it,” Ionescu said in a postgame interview with the Pac-12 Network. “But at the end of the day as long as we’re winning, that’s all that matters.”
Ionescu moved closer to the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound, 1,000-assist milestone that no Division I player ever has reached. At 991, she’s now nine rebounds away; she already has 2,446 points and 1,029 assists.
Ionescu could get there on Monday as the No. 3 Ducks take on No. 4 Stanford (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN App). She is also scheduled to attend the memorial for Kobe and Gigi Bryant at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday morning before returning to the Bay Area.
Ionescu said she expects Monday to be “filled with emotions.”
“I’m going to be attending [the memorial], just there to honor them and everything that they’ve done for me,” Ionescu told the Pac-12 Network.
When Friday’s game was over, Ionescu ran to the baseline and embraced Curry and his children. She has attended Warriors games for years and the two are friends. He said he’s not certain his daughters will play basketball, but he still sees Ionescu as a role model for them regardless.
“I’m sure she never thought she’d be in this position … well, maybe she did,” Curry told ESPN.com of Ionescu’s popularity. “It’s amazing to see what she’s made of herself. And it’s amazing what she’s done on the court. How that’s transformed the attention and awareness of where the women’s game is.”
Curry — who told the Pac-12 Network it was the first women’s basketball game for his daughters — played just three games this NBA season before suffering a fracture of the second metacarpal of his left hand on Oct. 30 that required surgery. He returned to practice this week with Golden State, although he was wearing a no-contact jersey. The Warriors have said they will update his status on March 1; he might return to the court later in March.
“I’m working my butt off to try and get out there,” Curry told the Pac-12 network. “There’s 25 games left. Hopefully I get to play a good amount of them.”
Meanwhile, he took the opportunity Friday to check out the Sabrina Show. Curry also told Pac-12 Network that what he enjoys most about watching Ionescu is her passion and leadership.
“Every night she just appreciates being on the floor and bringing it,” Curry said. “Triple-doubles are nice, too, but she has it all.”
As for why NBA players such as himself and the late Kobe Bryant appreciated Ionescu’s game, Curry said, “The eye test when you see her out on the floor. Stats, they mean a lot. But when you get to watching somebody and see the passion that she brings, it’s in her eyes.
“The competitive nature that she has, you can’t teach that.”
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