When the New York Liberty selected Sabrina Ionescu with the No. 1-overall pick in April, they envisioned her forming a dominant backcourt tandem with Asia Durr, whom they selected No. 2 overall in 2019.
Ionescu will finally don the Liberty jersey for the first time on the court when the WNBA resumes its 22-game season in Bradenton, Fla., on July 24. Liberty fans will have to wait a little longer to see her pair up with Durr, however.
Durr, who tested positive for COVID-19 on June 8, has decided not to play the 2020 season.
“After much thought and consultation with my doctors and the Liberty, I have decided not to play the 2020 WNBA season,” Durr said in a statement. “After testing positive for COIVD-19 on June 8, my battle with it has been complicated and arduous. As I continue to fight and fully recover, I had to make the difficult decision on a deadline to opt out as a medical High Risk player.”
Durr’s absence thrusts Ionescu into an even more prominent role during her rookie campaign. Durr averaged 9.7 points per game in 18 games in 2019 before a hip injury derailed her season.
The Liberty finished 10-24 in 2019, landing them the No. 1-overall pick and awarding them one of the most heralded prospects in recent history in Ionescu. Without Durr, the former Oregon star will have a little added weight on her shoulders as she tries to turn the team around.
“Asia worked extremely hard this offseason to put herself in position to take a major leap forward in her second WNBA season,” general manager Jonathan Kolb said. “While we are disappointed that we will need to wait a bit longer to see her emerge as one of the bright young players in the game, we fully recognize and support the difficult decision she had to make amidst unprecedented circumstances. Brooklyn will be ready for her in 2021.”