New York Liberty: Wikis


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For current information on this topic, see 2010 New York Liberty season.
New York Liberty
New York Liberty logo
Conference Eastern
Founded 1997
History New York Liberty
Arena Madison Square Garden
City New York City, New York
Team colors Blue, Orange, White, Seafoam Green
Owner(s) Madison Square Garden, L.P. a division of Cablevision
General manager Carol Blazejowski
Head Coach Anne Donovan
Championships None
Conference titles 4 (1997, 1999, 2000, 2002)
Mascot Maddie [1]
Official website

The New York Liberty is a Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) team based in New York City. They are one of the eight original WNBA teams that began to see action in 1997, as well one of the most successful teams in WNBA history. Despite making the WNBA playoffs almost every season and appearing in the WNBA Finals 4 times, they have yet to win a championship. The team derives its name from the Statue of Liberty. They are the sister team of the New York Knicks.


Franchise history

In the Shadow of the West (1997-2002)

Prior to the team's first season, to avoid potential trademark infringement, the team purchased the trademarks of the defunct Liberty Basketball Association.

The adage "always the bridesmaid, never the bride," could be used to describe the Liberty. When the WNBA opened in 1997, the Liberty was one of the first teams to choose a player, and they signed college superstar Rebecca Lobo (University of Connecticut) to a contract. Lobo was a starter for two seasons but was injured in 1999, and her injuries eventually led to her retirement several seasons later. Point guard Teresa Weatherspoon emerged as a star and the Liberty made it to the 1997 championship game, where the team lost to the Houston Comets. In 1999, they returned to the WNBA Finals, where they again faced Comets. In Game 2, Teresa Weatherspoon's fullcourt shot with point five seconds remaining gave the Liberty a one point win that tied the series. However, the Liberty lost the third game of the series and the Comets became champions for a third straight time.

The Liberty subsequently returned to the finals in 2000 and 2002, but lost once again to the Comets and to the Los Angeles Sparks, respectively. In 2001, Weatherspoon became the WNBA's all-time assist leader, and Sue Wicks, once a back-up to Lobo at forward, also proved to be a valuable player, making the All-Star game. 1998, 2003, 2006, and recently 2009 were the only years the Liberty failed to make the playoffs.

Consistency for the Liberty (2003-2005)

2003 marked a transition for the Liberty, with team leader Teresa Weatherspoon's WNBA career winding down, fan favorite Becky Hammon emerged as a star player. The 2004 season saw Hammon replacing Weatherspoon at the team's starting point guard spot.

Six games during the 2004 season were moved to Radio City Music Hall as Madison Square Garden was hosting the 2004 Republican National Convention. These games marked the first time Radio City had hosted a professional sporting event since the Roy Jones Jr. boxing match held in 1999.

With team leader Tari Phillips being signed to the Houston Comets, Ann Wauters emerged as a force at the team's starting center position in 2005. However, she was injured midway through the season. The loss of Wauters was felt as the team was swept two games to none by the Indiana Fever in the first round of the playoffs.

A Need for Change (2006-2007)

The Liberty saw a poor 2006 season, winning only 11 games, the worst in franchise history.

At the beginning of the 2007 WNBA season, the team traded Becky Hammon to the San Antonio Silver Stars for Jessica Davenport, a first round pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft. They also acquired center Janel McCarville through the dispersal draft associated with the dissolution of the Charlotte Sting. The 2007 Liberty started out 5-0, then lost 7 straight games, then rallied at the end of the season to get the last playoff spot by winning 3 out of their last 4 games, beating the Washington Mystics on the tiebreaker of head-to-head record. In the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Liberty, as huge underdogs, faced the defending champion Detroit Shock in a best-of-three series. The Liberty defeated the Shock by winning Game 1 in New York. In Games 2 and 3 the Liberty lost both games to the Shock in Detroit, 76-73 and 71-70 (OT) respectively.

From Beast to Least of the East (2008-present)

In 2008, the Liberty drafted former Rutgers shooting guard Essence Carson and former University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill forward Erlana Larkins, and signed former University of Utah point guard Leilani Mitchell during the preseason. Although they had the youngest average age of any WNBA team, the Liberty managed to win 19 regular season games in 2008, to defeat the Connecticut Sun in the first round of playoff action, and to come within two points of defeating the Detroit Shock in the third and last game of the Eastern Conference Finals. Again, the Detroit series entailed a Liberty victory at home in Game 1, followed by narrow defeats away in Games 2 and 3. The 2008 season also featured the "Liberty Outdoor Classic", the first ever professional regular season basketball game to be played outdoors, on July 19 at Arthur Ashe Stadium of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. The Indiana Fever defeated the Liberty in the Outdoor Classic.

The Liberty were originally scheduled to be displaced from their usual home court due to renovations at Madison Square Garden. It has been announced, however, that renovation plans have been delayed and the Liberty played at the Garden in 2009.

In the 2009 WNBA Draft, the Liberty selected local favorite Kia Vaughn from Rutgers. With a solid core group, the Liberty looked to be a contender in the East yet again.

In the 2009 season, however, they never proved to be a contender. During the 2009 season, the team fired head coach Pat Coyle during the season, which led to the hiring of then-Liberty assistant coach Anne Donovan to take the interim tag. Even with her coaching New York, the franchise continued to struggle, finishing 13-21, their second worst record in franchise history.


  • 1997-2002: white with a black line above the shoulders at home, black with a green line on the road.
  • 2003-Present: white with teal, blue and orange trim and "Liberty" on the chest in light blue letters at home. Primary color is blue on the road with "New York" on the chest in white letters. The Liberty logo is on the left leg of the shorts.

Season-by-season records


Current roster

New York Liberty roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Ht. Wt. From
SF 22 United States Battle, Ashley (FA) 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Connecticut
G/F 17 United States Carson, Essence 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m) 165 lb (75 kg) Rutgers
G/F 20 United States Christon, Shameka (C) 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 170 lb (77 kg) Arkansas
PF 3 United States Jackson, Tiffany 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 185 lb (84 kg) Texas
PF 33 United States Kraayeveld, Cathrine 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 180 lb (82 kg) Oregon
PF 2 United States Larkins, Erlana 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) 210 lb (95 kg) North Carolina
C 4 United States McCarville, Janel (C) 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 205 lb (93 kg) Minnesota
PG 23 United States Mitchell, Leilani 5 ft 5 in (1.65 m) 130 lb (59 kg) Utah
PG 12 United States Moore, Loree (C) 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) 169 lb (77 kg) Tennessee
F 14 United States Powell, Nicole 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) 175 lb (79 kg) Stanford
G/F 6 United States Spencer, Sidney 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) 183 lb (83 kg) Tennessee
C 15 United States Vaughn, Kia 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) 200 lb (91 kg) Rutgers
Head coach
Assistant coach(es)
Strength and conditioning coach(es)
Athletic trainer(s)

  • (C) Team captain
  • (DP) Unsigned draft pick
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Last transaction: 2009-06-04

Coaches and others

Head coaches

General Managers

Hall of famers

Teresa Weatherspoon

Rebecca Lobo

Madison Square Garden, home of the Liberty

Honored numbers

Teresa Weatherspoon #11

Former players


External links

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