• New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu eyes a possible playing stint outside the United States
  • The 22-year-old has not played since injuring her left ankle in July 
  • Ionescu says her plan to play overseas has nothing to do with money

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu is exploring the possibility of playing overseas as she prepares for a bounce-back year in the WNBA following an injury-plagued rookie season.

In a virtual interview with reporters on Wednesday, the 22-year-old said her objective is to keep herself in shape and accustomed to competitive basketball while the WNBA goes on a break. The league concluded its season on Tuesday, with the Seattle Storm winning the championship over the Las Vegas Aces.

"Partially that has to do with COVID because I'm not trying to find random people at the gym to play against," said Ionescu, via ESPN. "I did yoga this morning at 7, yoga and Pilates. I did some cardio, lifted, going to do a basketball workout and recovery. So I really have a very full day."

Taking their talents outside the United States has been a common move among WNBA players. In fact, it is reported that most of the players get heftier pay overseas than in the U.S.

But Ionescu clarified that money is not her driving force in targeting basketball away from her home country.

"I wouldn't really be going for the money," Ionescu said. "I'd be going for a couple (of) months to kind of just get back into playing basketball, playing against other players. It's really easy to just go through workouts (alone), and it's completely different to play 5-on-5 with refs."

As for when exactly she plans to make the move, the former Oregon standout said she hopes to play later in the season of her target destination, which will most likely be in Europe, per Ionescu.

"There's a few (overseas) teams that I was talking to before the WNBA season started. So I'll still be talking to them and see if I can go out there later," she said.

Ionescu was the first overall draft pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft held in April. She made her debut for New York on July 25, but it was in her second game where she unleashed her top-notch basketball repertoire, hoisting 33 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes of play against the Dallas Wings.

But just as when her professional career was about to surge, the highly touted prodigy hit a setback when she injured her left ankle in the second quarter of a game against the Atlanta Dream on July 31. She was diagnosed the next day with a grade 3 sprain and has not played since.

Sabrina Ionescu WNBA Liberty
Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the New York Liberty brings the ball in during the second half of a game against the Dallas Wings at Feld Entertainment Center on July 29, 2020 in Palmetto, Florida. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images