With more eyes on women’s basketball than there have been in recent years, WNBA’s next big star might be emerging inside the league’s Bradenton, Florida bubble. Rookie Sabrina Ionescu made headlines Wednesday night with one of the early season’s most impressive performances.

Ionescu, 22, led all scorers with 33 points in the New York Liberty’s loss to the Dallas Wings. In what was just her second game as a pro, Ionescu also led the team with seven assists and grabbed seven rebounds.

Ionescu dropped 21 points in the first half and finished with 41% of New York’s 80 points.

The Liberty made Ionescu the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 WNBA Draft. She was named the Pac-12 Player of the Year in each of her final three seasons at Oregon. After struggling in her debut with 12 points, the first-year player has started to live up to lofty expectations.

“She had a heck of a game; she did everything she could to get our offense going,” Liberty coach Walt Hopkins said Wednesday night. “She saw we needed a boost offensively and she went out and created one. The shots fell tonight and she did a great job getting to [the] rim and had an efficient game.”

The WNBA has generated big ratings in the wake of team sports returning for the first time in several months because of the coronavirus pandemic. Saturday’s opener between the Liberty and Seattle Storm produced the league’s most-watched regular-season game on cable in four years, according to Sports Media Watch.

With 77 WNBA regular-season games scheduled for national television, there will be plenty of opportunities for Ionescu to become one of the league’s marquee faces. The bubble has been successful, thus far, with no COVID-19 cases among players that have started the season.

All 12 teams will play a 22-game season, concluding on Sept. 12.

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