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Liberty extend Ionescu through 2025

All-Star point guard gets two more years in Brooklyn

May 16, 2023 John Torenli, Sports Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Sab is fab!

Just ask the New York Liberty, who extended All-Star point guard Sabrina Ionescu’s contract through the 2025 season Monday.

“I’m thankful and honored to be able to represent the New York Liberty for the next couple years,” said Ionescu in a team-issued statement.

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“(Co-owners) Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, (general manager) Jonathan Kolb, and the entire Liberty organization has been nothing short of amazing over my time here, and I’m thrilled to work towards bringing a championship back to New York City.”

That elusive championship, one the Liberty have been chasing since the WNBA’s inaugural 1997 campaign, is expected to be captured over the next several seasons.

Especially after New York brought in the likes of 2021 MVP Jonquel Jones, two-time WNBA champion Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot, the league’s all-time leader in assists, this past offseason.

Having Ionescu back for two more years after exercising the fourth-year option on her rookie contract for 2023 should be a boon to a franchise that reached the playoffs each of the previous two seasons, only to suffer hasty first-round exits.

The former No. 1 overall pick out of the University of Oregon in the 2020 WNBA Draft is averaging 14.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists through her first 69 games in the league.

Though she was hampered by injuries in her first two seasons, Ionescu grabbed her first starting All-Star spot in 2022. She put up career bests of 17.4 points, 7.1 boards and 6.3 helpers per contest.

Two-time WNBA champion Breanna Stewart can’t wait to begin her Liberty career after arriving in Brooklyn this past offseason. AP Photo by Jessie Alcheh

Ionescu, a two-time Wooden Award winner as the best collegiate player in the nation and the NCAA women’s all-time leader in triple-doubles, also nabbed a spot on the Associated Press’ First Team last year along with a pair of Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors.

She finished the year as the first WNBA player ever to amass over 500 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in the same year.

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce Sabrina’s multi-year extension,” said Kolb, who is the early leader for WNBA Executive of the Year honors following his gaudy offseason haul.

“Her career is already off to a historic start and her will to win is truly unparalleled. Sab has quickly become synonymous with the Liberty franchise, and we look forward to her continued success in New York for many years to come.”

Ionescu put up a team high-tying 14 points to go with four assists and four rebounds in Saturday’s 84-77 loss in Las Vegas to the defending WNBA champion Aces.

Betnijah Laney, an All-Star in 2021, also finished with 14 points and Jocelyn Willoughby added eight ponts off the bench for New York, which will open the regular season Friday night in Washington, D.C.

Stewart made her much-anticipated Liberty debut against the Aces, scoring nine points, ripping down seven caroms and handing out five assists in 23 minutes.

Jones, whom Kolb acquired from Connecticut via a three-team deal including Dallas, also donned her Liberty uniform for the first time, putting up six points, four rebounds and a blocked shot in 15 minutes.

The Liberty will begin the home portion of their schedule at Downtown’s Barclays Center on Sunday vs. Indiana.

Liberty season tickets, group packages and single-game tickets are all on-sale at nyliberty.com.

Courtney Vandersloot should make her Liberty debut Friday night, when New York opens the 2023 season in Washington D.C. AP Photo by Young Quack

GIVE ME LIBERTY: Vandersloot, who has yet to make her Liberty debut, revealed over Mother’s Day weekend that she has been dealing with her mother Jan’s cancer diagnosis. “I found out at the end of July, that’s when the diagnosis came through and you know it was obviously completely out of the blue,” the 34-year-old playmaker told the Associated Press. “I was shocked. There was every emotion you can imagine and just the unknown. I’ve been fortunate with the people around me, I’ve never experienced something like this.” … After hosting Indiana on Sunday, the Liberty will welcome Connecticut to Barclays on May 27 as Jones goes against her former teammates. New York lost its preseason opener to the Sun, 63-57, last Wednesday.


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