Steph Curry defeats Sabrina Ionescu in first-ever NBA vs. WNBA three-point contest at All-Star Weekend

We know Steph Curry and Sabrina Ionescu are great three-point shooters. But this weekend, we got to find out who is the best.

Curry narrowly defeated Ionescu Saturday when the two sharpshooters faced off during All-Star Weekend in the first NBA vs. WNBA three-point contest to settle a long-running debate.

The Golden State Warriors star scored 29 points to the New York Liberty star who scored 26.

Ionescu said on the TNT broadcast she was excited to “change the narrative” between NBA and WNBA players.

“That was amazing,” Ionescu said. “Just to be able to have this be the first of this kind of event and come out here and put on a show but understanding what this means. Excited to change the narrative and be able to do it alongside the greatest to ever do it.”

Curry, while wearing a three-point champion belt, was complimentary of the event and Ionescu.

“This couldn’t have gone any better in the sense of us two taking the chance in front of this stage, running around with all the hype, and to deliver like that, she set the bar, it was unbelievable to watch,” Curry said. “So, this might be something - I don’t know if anybody can fill these shoes but it might be something that we need to do more often.”

Stephen Curry prepares to shoot in the three-point challenge against Sabrina Ionescu. - Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Stephen Curry prepares to shoot in the three-point challenge against Sabrina Ionescu. - Stacy Revere/Getty Images

A dream crossover match-up

Curry is a two-time NBA three-point contest champion and holds the league’s record for most career three-pointers made (3,642).

However, in 2023, Ionescu set the WNBA record for most three-pointers in a single-season (128). She also set a WNBA and NBA all-time record score in the three-point contest last season, recording 37 points out of a possible 40.

According to the official release, Curry shot NBA balls from the NBA three-point line, while Ionescu used the WNBA equivalents – the line is a little closer and the ball is slightly smaller.

But, confident of her abilities before the match, Ionescu said she wanted to level the playing field. “I’ll shoot from the NBA line… LETS GET IT,” she wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter.

As part of the contest, both Curry and Ionescu’s respective charities will receive a donation from the NBA and WNBA. The pair will also have a chance to raise money for the NBA Foundation, which aims to further economic empowerment in the Black community, with each regular shot worth $1,000, every money ball $2,000 and a special 29-foot-9-inch three-pointer called the “STARRY Range Ball” worth $3,000.

“I think this is like the coolest thing ever,” Curry told TNT in late January.

“I love the confidence, I love the competition. It’s a new format on that stage.”

Ionescu has become known for her three-pointers. - Stacy Revere/Getty Images
Ionescu has become known for her three-pointers. - Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Mac McClung defends slam dunk title

Meanwhile, G League player Mac McClung won his second consecutive NBA dunk contest, sealing his victory by leaping over Shaquille O’Neal in spectacular fashion, as the Osceola Magic guard became the fifth player in league history to defend his title.

McClung’s leap over the 7 foot 1 O’Neal earned a perfect score of 50 from the judges, as he plucked a basketball from the NBA legend’s hands and dunked it in the net, despite being almost a foot shorter.

Mac McClung dunked the ball over NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal. - Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports/Reuters
Mac McClung dunked the ball over NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal. - Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports/Reuters

The 25-year-old told the TNT broadcast afterwards that he was “honored” to win consecutive titles but was critical of his performance, adding, “I wish I could’ve given more to the crowd.”

He received the only perfect score of the night with that showstopping dunk while his previous efforts, including one in which he jumped over two people, had given him a strong start in the competition.

He defeated the Boston CelticsJaylen Brown, while the Miami Heat’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. and the New York KnicksJacob Toppin were eliminated in the first round.

A weekend of action

The traditional three-Point Contest saw Malik Beasley, Jalen Brunson, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Lauri Markkanen, Donovan Mitchell, Karl-Anthony Towns and Trae Young vie for the crown.

In the end, Lillard, the Milwaukee Bucks All-Star guard, successfully defended his three-point contest title, becoming the first player to win back-to-back crowns since Jason Kapono did so in 2007 and 2008.

All-Star Weekend will culminate in the All-Star Game on Sunday from the Indiana Pacers’ Gainbridge Fieldhouse, which sees the best-of-the-best compete against one another.

The game has reverted back to the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format for this year, with many of the league’s biggest stars lining up in Indianapolis.

Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James captain the East and West respectively, while Joel Embiid is the biggest name to miss out having undergone surgery for a knee injury earlier this month.

Saturday’s action started with the NBA’s showcase of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) as Virginia Union played Winston-Salem State.

Players’ all-around skillsets were on display on Saturday evening with the Skills Challenge, before the three-point contest showcased some of the best talent from deep and the Slam Dunk competition rounded out the evening.

And on Sunday, the G League – the NBA’s minor league affiliate – will host its own series of events beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET at the G League Park at the Indian Convention Center before the crowning jewel of the weekend, the All-Star Game, takes place at 8 p.m. ET.

TNT Sports (formerly known as Turner Sports and briefly as Warner Bros. Discovery Sports) is the division of Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD), which owns CNN.

CNN’s Ben Church contributed to this report.

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