Steph Curry broke down Sabrina Ionescu's first game with her before 33-point outburst

Cassandra Negley
·4-min read

Sabrina Ionescu’s debut for the New York Liberty was not up to the superstar’s standards. But her second career WNBA game was jaw-dropping.

In the four days in between, the rookie took a look at what went wrong mentally and got some virtual help from friend and mentor Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors.

Ionescu turns to Curry for advice

Ionescu’s debut was tough against the Seattle Storm defense and she went cold from 3-point range, missing all eight attempts. She had 12 points on 4 of 17 shooting with six rebounds and four assists.

In a diary entry for the Associated Press, Ionescu said she was a different kind of nervous than usual for her first game as a professional basketball player. It wasn’t that something was wrong with her shot, she said, it was the mental side of it that got her.

“Before the game, I was thinking there was no way I’m going to be getting open looks. There was no way I was going to get to shoot the shots I normally got in college.

“I know I willed myself into some of those misses and that was frustrating looking back on it.”

So she hopped on Facetime with Curry to go over what went right and what went wrong, she said. She also said she heard from LeBron James, Damian Lillard, Ja Morant and Steve Nash.

“They told me that I looked poised and that I was going to have a great career.”

Curry is one of the former Oregon standout’s many fans in the NBA and brought his daughters to see her 25th triple-double last season. She has a collegiate record 26 and has all eyes on her to become only the ninth player in WNBA history to notch one.

Ionescu impresses after Curry call

Sabrina Ionescu with ball on the court.
New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu said Stephen Curry helped her with her game before her 33-point outburst. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Ionescu looked much more like herself in a 33-point outing on Wednesday night against the Dallas Wings. She was close to a triple-double with seven rebounds and seven assists. And she was much more efficient, going 11-for-20 overall including 6-for-10 from 3-point range.

She wrote for the AP:

“I knew if I was open to shoot it. That’s what I did in the second game and I was able to hit a few. Once the first couple went in, my confidence grew.”

Curry had only one word for the performance.

Morant gave her a single, scary emoji.

Ionescu, Sabally share special moment

Ionescu also shared a special moment she had with former Oregon teammate Satou Sabally, who was drafted by the Wings.

“It was also nice seeing Satou out there for Dallas, although it was a little weird seeing her in a different jersey. I had to get used to not passing to her. I’m always going to be rooting for her.

“Although, I did tell her on the free throw line ‘don’t miss’ with a smile. She looked back at me and winked after she made it. We went through so much at Oregon, we’ll always be on the same team forever.”

Their post-game meeting created a popular gif.

What’s next for Ionescu?

Ionescu will be relied upon a lot in the shortened seven-week season since the Liberty (0-2) have a brand new team that includes a veteran free agent and seven total rookies. It makes it all the more likely she’ll grab that triple-double soon, especially since she has so many high-caliber players to dissect her performance between games.

The Liberty will play the Atlanta Dream and fellow rookie standout Chennedy Carter on Thursday night.

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