Athlete of the Issue: Sabrina Ionescu

Athlete of the Issue: Sabrina Ionescu

Kaitlin Fenn, Staff Writer

Chances are, you’ve heard her name. Sabrina Ionescu  is a standout player on the Miramonte Women’s Basketball team who led the team as a freshman last year with an average of 13.8 points per game. This season, she has become an even bigger scoring threat, but doesn’t keep track of or care about her individual stats. Her main priority is the team.
“At the end of the day, as long as we win and my teammates are happy, I don’t care how many points I have. We’re in it as a team,” Ionescu said.
When she was three years old, Sabrina started playing basketball with her older brother Andre for fun.
Then in fourth grade she joined her first team, Cal Stars, and has played for the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU)  club ever since. This past summer, she competed on its top team, Nike Elite, as the only incoming sophomore. In addition to playing on the Nike Elite team, Sabrina got the chance to train in Colorado and travel to Cancun as a member of the Junior Olympic U16 team this past summer. After submitting an application and surviving three rounds of National Team Trial cuts, she earned a spot along with 11 other girls.
“The tryouts were so stressful,” she said. “I didn’t know anybody there, and you had to give maximum effort every single time you stepped on the court.”
But all the hard work was worth it. The girls defeated Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Canada at the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship to return home with gold medals.
“It was an unbelievable experience,” she said. “I never imagined that it would happen, and it actually did.”
This Miramonte season, Ionescu is hoping to add an NCS ring and a state title to go along with her gold medal.
“We’re hoping to go up against O’Dowd in the NCS finals, and one of our big goals is to beat them and get first place in NCS,” she said. “Winning state is another huge goal for us.”
Sab, as some people call her, not only has the skills, but also has her “good luck charm” that she never goes without. “I have a good luck headband named ‘good luck Charlie’ that I wear every game and practice,” she said. “I’ve had it since I first started playing, so around six years. And yes, it’s named after the Disney Channel show, ok?”
When she is not playing basketball, which isn’t often, Ionescu loves to eat food and watch movies. Her favorite meal is either lasagna or Chipotle, but when she’s preparing for a game she likes to choose a healthier route and go for some candy. During games she makes sure to replenish by drinking her favorite sports drink, tropical citrus Vitamin Water.
With her talent and love for basketball, a future career in the sport beyond Miramonte isn’t very doubtful. As far as college ball goes, Ionescu isn’t thinking too far ahead yet. “I’m not worrying about all that now. I’m enjoying my years of playing basketball in high school, because I know they go by quickly.”