January 25, 2019, on

Sabrina Ionescu gets nervous. Too nervous to sleep. Lying in her bed, wrapped in her gray blankets, she’ll try to meditate. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale.
Doesn’t work.

She’ll turn over right, then turn over left. Right, left. Right, left.

Still nothing.

She hardly sleeps during the season. Especially nights before games.

The thoughts will just get louder in her head. What if we don’t win? We have to win. What if my shot’s off? How are they going to guard me?

2 a.m. …

She’ll replay mistakes she can’t let go of, losses she’s still ticked off about. She’ll try praying, try reading one of her favorite books, Mamba Mentality: How I Play or Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Stephen Curry or Tim Tebow: Through My Eyes.

3 a.m. …

She’ll turn on some nonsports TV but end up on SportsCenter.

But then, somehow, in the morning, she’ll join her team at shootaround, looking like she slept 10 hours. She’ll be energetic and confident. Ready. Every time. She has to be. She is The Woman Who Does Not Miss. The Triple-Double Queen. Her teammates need her. Follow her. Copy her. If she flinches, they flinch. If she doubts, they doubt.

So she can’t show weakness, even when she feels like vomiting in the hours before tipoff and can’t eat anything. (READ FULL STORY HERE).