N.Y. locks up Ionescu with extension through 25

  • Covers women’s college basketball and the WNBA
  • Previously covered UConn and the WNBA Connecticut Sun for the Hartford Courant
  • Stanford graduate and Baltimore native with further experience at the Dallas Morning News, Seattle Times and Cincinnati Enquirer

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu has signed a multiyear contract extension through the 2025 season, locking her into the organization as it angles toward winning its first WNBA title.

“We couldn’t be more excited to announce Sabrina’s multi-year extension,” Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb said in a statement. “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.”

“I’m thankful and honored to be able to represent the New York Liberty for the next couple years,” Ionescu added. “Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, 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.”

Ionescu — the No. 1 overall pick of the 2020 WNBA draft — had a career season last year, her third in the pros, earning all-WNBA second-team honors and her first All-Star bid. An ankle injury early in her rookie campaign limited her to three games that summer, and she dealt with lingering issues from it in 2021, prompting her to spend that next offseason focusing on getting fulling healthy.

Her patience paid dividends, as she finished 2022 as the first player in league history with over 500 points, 200 rebounds and 200 assists in a single season.

Through 69 regular-season games, the Oregon product has averaged 14.9 points, 6.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists — the only player with such career averages in WNBA history. Her three career triple-doubles in WNBA play are second-best in the record books, tied with Candace Parker. She is still the collegiate leader in triple-doubles with 26.

Ionescu could be in for another standout season given the players the Liberty added to their roster this offseason. Former MVPs Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones will be some of Ionescu’s new targets, but most significantly, Courtney Vandersloot will join her in the backcourt and allow Ionescu to play off the ball, where she feels she thrives as more of a combo guard. Ionescu also has said this has been her first real offseason when she’s been fully healthy.

“I had dealt with injury in the first two years, and when a franchise could have given up on their franchise player not producing and being able to give them what they knew I could, they had this unwavering amount of support for me and stuck with me through the difficult times,” Ionescu told ESPN last week. “[I’m now] able to be on the flip side and be that player they always knew that I’ve been able to be at this level.”

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