Are the Liberty at the Categorical Monitor to Being a Playoff Sport? Or will they get caught on the Atlantic Road station at the highway to changing into a real contender within the hard-fought WNBA?
Final 12 months, the Liberty snuck into the playoffs as No. 8 at the ultimate day of the season, regardless of finishing with a 12-20 document and profitable simply two in their final 13 video games. They then just about eradicated the Finals-bound Mercury in a single-elimination first-round nailbiter.
It’s been a 12 months of enlargement and cultivating chemistry throughout the roster and Liberty plans to construct on that basis in 2022. The franchise signaled its ambitions this iciness by means of hiring a brand new head trainer and signing a free-agent middle with championship pedigrees.
However making it again into the postseason might be a tricky activity — the Washington Mystics and Los Angeles Sparks, either one of whom overlooked the playoffs final season, made notable enhancements within the offseason, and the standard elite groups stay spectacular.
The Liberty will play a complete 36-game agenda for the primary time since 2019, starting with Saturday night time’s season opener on the Barclays Middle in opposition to powerhouse Connecticut Solar.
Right here’s a handy guide a rough information to what’s in retailer for the Liberty:
Meet the brand new boss
The Liberty parted tactics with head trainer Walt Hopkins in December after two seasons and employed Sandy Brondello, who were the pinnacle trainer of the Mercury since 2014 and led Phoenix to a name in her first season there.
Brondello, an Australian local who performed within the WNBA from 1998 to 2003, may be the pinnacle trainer of the Australia nationwide crew. Her husband Olaf Lange is an assistant at the Liberty training workforce.
famous person energy
This season marks the second one 12 months in combination for the Liberty’s Giant 3 of Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney and Natasha Howard.
Picked first general by means of the Liberty within the 2020 WNBA draft, Ionescu has had an up and down sophomore season (11.7 issues, 6.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds in line with sport) within the a rookie within the 2020 Wubble season as she grappled with the lingering results of an ankle damage she suffered. Now she’s again to complete energy.
Betnijah Laney is in her top. The 28-year-old guard is coming off a landmark All-Big name season after averaging 16.8 issues, 4.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists and dressed in the Liberty from time to time in a stunning first part. Laney underwent surgical operation on his left knee final November.
Natasha Howard has had a complete coaching camp following a knee damage that disrupted her adjustment to the Liberty final season. The 3-time WNBA champion averaged 16.2 issues and seven.2 rebounds in her 13-game marketing campaign.
New York’s new faces
The Liberty signed free-agent middle Stefanie Dolson in February and got here off a extremely embellished 2021 during which she received an Olympic gold medal with the US 3×3 crew and a WNBA name with Chicago Sky. The previous two-time All-Big name, 30, provides to the Liberty at 6ft 5 in period and peak and must be a powerful addition to Howard up entrance.
First-round draft select Nyara Sabally will take a seat out the season after knee surgical operation, however second-round select Lorela Cubaj, a embellished Georgia Tech ahead, has made the crew.
AD returns to the Liberty after lacking two seasons because of long-haul COVID. Liberty’s No. 2 select of 2019 is poised for a reserve position in an unsure readjustment to high-profile baskets.
Han Xu — the WNBA’s tallest participant at 6-10 — is again at the crew for the primary time since her rookie 12 months in 2019 after the Chinese language middle failed to come back to the US for the previous two years.
Jocelyn Willoughby, who proved a precious two-way ahead as a rookie in 2020, is again after lacking all of 2021 with a torn Achilles tendon.
https://nypost.com/2022/05/06/liberty-2022-season-preview-sabrina-ionescu-eyes-playoff-return/ Sabrina Ionescu dares playoff go back