Dawn Staley sends message to Sabrina Ionescu after 3-point contest vs. Steph Curry

Chandler Vesselsby:Chandler Vessels02/17/24

ChandlerVessels

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley was proud of the way Sabrina Ionescu represented the women’s game Saturday night. A WNBA player for the New York Liberty, Ionescu participated in a 3-point contest with Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry at NBA All-Star Weekend in Indianapolis.

Ionescu held her own against the greatest shooter of all-time, but ultimately lost 29-26 in the tight matchup. Her score of 26 was still impressive and matched the score from any round of the actual 3-point contest, which Damian Lillard won with a score of 26.

Staley took to Twitter after the event to give a shout out to Ionescu for the way she performed.

“Heck Yeah SABRINA!! Way to represent!!” the Gamecocks coach wrote.

With the win, Curry earned a title belt and the honors of winning the inaugural showdown. Both players take home $25,000 to give to a charity of their choice.

The showdown came after Ionescu’s record-setting performance at the 2023 WNBA All Star 3-point contest, where she scored 37 points. It surpassed a record that Curry held and set at a prior NBA All Star weekend.

Although Curry got the better of her this time around, the record she set last season still stands. She is just shy of 38% from deep in her WNBA career and shot a blistering 44.3% from deep in the 2023 season.

It’s clear she has the support of Staley, who is having quite a season of her own. The Gamecocks are currently undefeated and eyeing their second national championship in the past three seasons.

Sabrina Ionescu hopes to inspire other women’s basketball players by facing off with Steph Curry

Ionescu spoke prior to the 3-point contest against Steph Curry about what she hoped to accomplish.

And while she surely wanted to win, Ionescu was also proud of the fact she gets to blaze a trail that other women’s basketball players can follow. As someone who idolized Curry herself, she wants to show she can out-shoot him on the court, too.

“All young girls that are watching, being able to watch this and see that one day too they can come out here and shoot against their idol, shoot against the best shooter in the world, and nothing is going to stop them,” Ionescu said on Saturday on NBA on TNT prior to action beginning.

Curry, the NBA all-time leader in 3 pointers made while also being 12th amongst NBA players all-time in 3-point percentage, making more than 42% of his career attempts from deep, proved a tough out for Ionescu. Still, it feels like she certainly accomplished her goal.