Newest Libs Arrive in NYC
NEW YORK (May 13, 2015) —The 2015 New York Liberty season is right around the corner, and this year’s squad features a lot of new faces, including a very deep and talented rookie class.
New York was busy on draft night, making a number of blockbuster trades to move into a position to add key pieces that are sure to set a foundation for success.
All five rookies have made the trek to NYC, in some cases across a continent or from halfway around the world, and they were on hand for preseason workouts at the Liberty Training Center in Greenburgh, N.Y., in advance of the official start of camp on May 17. After waiting nearly a month since officially becoming the newest members of the team, the word of the day was “excitement.”
Heading into the draft, New York did not possess a first round pick, but the Liberty had their sights set on a couple of high profile targets, and pulled off the necessary trades to land guard Brittany Boyd (9th, California) and center Kiah Stokes (11th, Connecticut).
“I know I’m excited, and I’m sure my teammates are as well,” said Stokes. “I think once you get drafted you want to go ahead and get started, that wait was tough, but now that we are here, I’m really looking forward to it.”
“It’s a great feeling, great energy to be around,” said Boyd. “I think the coaching staff is going to do a good job of developing us, so I’m excited for the future.”
Stokes wrapped up a record-breaking career at UConn with a third-straight national title, swatting nearly four shots per game during her senior year to break the program’s single-season record. Boyd, an Associated Press Second-Team All-American, averaged 13.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game for Cal, leading the Bears to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
While both expressed the excitement of their first pro season getting underway, the initial focus is adjusting to life in the WNBA.
“I heard from some of our former UConn players that in the league everyone is faster, bigger and stronger, so we have to work out in the weight room a lot, try to get extra conditioning in, to make sure we are ready to play,” said Stokes.
“I think staying mentally focused is going to be key,” said Boyd. “I think of basketball as a mental game. The coaches are going to do a great job of preparing us physically, but the mental aspect is going to be key.”
The 2015 draft class features another pair of heralded players from high profile college programs in Amber Orrange (23rd, Stanford) and guard Laurin Mincy (27th, Maryland), in addition to forward Rebecca Allen, who signed with the Liberty earlier in the year and already has pro experience playing for the Melbourne Boomers of the WNBL in her native Australia.
“It’s great to be a part of a founding team that has always been in the league, and to work out with Bill Laimbeer is going to be really exciting and a new experience,” said Allen.
Orrange, an offensive minded guard for the Cardinal who helped lead the team into the Sweet 16 in 2015, already has some experience running the triangle offense, but now must focus on learning the nuances from head coach Bill Laimbeer and take advantage of working with such a renowned coaching staff.
“I’ve been working out, I know the game is faster and you have to be stronger,” said Orrange. “I’m excited and nervous, to have a chance to play for a great coach and great former players like Katie Smith and T-Spoon, it’s a great learning experience.”
Mincy, who led the Terrapins in scoring, averaging 13.5 ppg en route to an appearance in the NCAA Semifinals, echoed the sentiments of her newest teammates.
Even though all five had been playing competitively as recently as a couple of months ago, the offseason emphasis has been to become as prepared as possible to dive right into the WNBA season and be ready to go from day one.
“There is a great coaching staff here, so I know we are going to get after it hard and we are going to have a lot to learn, but everyone seems to pick up things easily and I can’t wait for practice to get started,” said Mincy.
New York opens regular season action against the Atlanta Dream on Friday, June 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Madison Square Garden. The home opener, presented by Kia, will feature a free giveaway to the first 5,000 fans. The team will host 17 home games during the 2015 regular season, along with one preseason matchup against the Atlanta Dream on Wednesday, May 27 at 11 a.m.
The Liberty will play their preseason opener on Friday, May 22, against the Chicago Sky at the University of Delaware, in Newark, Delaware, at 7 p.m.
Season ticket packages are available by calling 212-465-6073.