For immediate release 

PORTLAND, Oregon (July 31) -- University of Oregon women’s basketball has claimed its third 2019 Oregon Sports Award. 

Sport Oregon and NBC Sports Northwest announced senior-to-be Sabrina Ionescu as the recipient of the Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year on Wednesday. Ducks head coach Kelly Graves was also presented with a Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year award, which given annually to the state’s most outstanding coach or administrator. 

The winner reveals came one day after UO women’s basketball received its first-ever George Pasero Team of the Year Award. 

Graves called into NBC Sports Northwest’s talk show “The Bridge” with show host Justin Myers to accept all three awards on behalf of the program. A recap of Graves’ interview can be found here

Ionescu, who won the award in 2018, is the first repeat female winner since former UO multi-sport athlete Liz Brenner won the award in 2012 and 2013.  

Award criteria and past winners

She is the sixth UO female athlete to receive the honor. Past winners are Kelly Blair (1996, track and field), Brianne Theisen (2010, track and field,) Jordan Hasay (2011, track and field) and Cheridan Hawkins (2014, softball). 

The Oregon Sports Awards voting panel selected Ionescu over finalists Jessica Hull (UO cross country/track and field) and Mikayla Pivec (Oregon State women’s basketball). Fellow Duck Ronika Stone (volleyball) was also nominated for the award. 

Sport Oregon and NBC Sports Northwest presented former Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman with the Bill Hayward Male Amateur Athlete of the Year award on July 17. 

Ionescu achieved individual heights while leading the Ducks to the most historic season in program history. 

She broke the NCAA’s career triple-double record in December and now has 18 for her career. Ionescu also set the NCAA’s single-season record for triple-doubles (8). 

She averaged 19.9 points, 8.2 assists and 7.4 rebounds per game to garner her second set of Pac-12 Player of the Year honors. Ionescu also won the Wade Trophy, John R. Wooden Award and Nancy Lieberman Award, which are given to the nation’s most outstanding player. 

Ionescu was named to ESPNW’s All-American team as well and was a finalist for the Naismith Trophy.  

Behind Ionescu, UO finished with a 33-5 overall record for the second straight year and advanced to its first Women’s Final Four in April. The second-seeded Ducks notched NCAA Tournament victories over No. 15 Portland State, No. 10 Indiana, No. 6 South Dakota State and No. 1 Mississippi State to earn their Final Four berth. 

Ionescu also helped the Ducks claim their second straight Pac-12 Regular Season Championship and play in its second consecutive Pac-12 Tournament championship game.  

The Ducks notched 11 wins over teams ranked in the Associated Press Top-25 for at least one week of the 2018-2019 season. 

Ionescu chose to return to Eugene for her senior year despite being projected to be the No. 1 overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft. She announced her decision in a letter published by The Players’ Tribune on Apr. 6.  

Ionescu has a chance to be the first three-time Bill Hayward Female Amateur Athlete of the Year award winner in 2020. The only athletes to have won the award, which is the Oregon Sports Awards’ inaugural honor, three times are former USA track and field Olympians Steve Prefontaine and Dan O’Brien. 

Presenting sponsor: HP

State Champion Sponsors: NBC Sports Northwest Nike Pamplin Media Group Portland Thorns Portland Timbers Portland Trail Blazers Providence Heath and Services Washington Trust Bank

About Sport Oregon

Sport Oregon’s mission is to drive economic growth and enhance Oregon’s quality of life through sports.  Our non-profit organization has served as the state’s sports economic development arm for more than two decades, injecting more than $350 million into Oregon’s economy through sports tourism.

Supported by more than 150 annual members, Sport Oregon works relentlessly to enhance the state’s economy and quality of life by attracting sports events and franchises.  Sport Oregon’s major achievements include securing the NCAA Basketball Tournament, Davis Cup World Final, multiple U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Women’s World Cup Soccer and the Dew Tour.  Sport Oregon was recognized as “Sports Commission of the Year” in 2010 by the National Association of Sports Commissions.  View a complete list of Past Events and Future Events.

Learn more about opportunities to become involved with Sport Oregon by becoming a membervolunteering or joining Sport Oregon’s Young Professionals Board.

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Brady Johnson 

Sport Oregon 

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