Forced to play supporting roles in recent years, the New York Liberty will however begin the WNBA season with the status of a very serious candidate for the title. Because while the team has not posted a positive record since 2017, it has recovered Jonquel Jones then Breanna Stewart, two of the best players in the league. Signatures that have inevitably boosted the ambitions of Marine Johannès’ Liberty, and taken the franchise to another dimension.
In the process, Courtney Vandersloot also took over the management of the “Big Apple” in order to complete a workforce that can now nurture great ambitions. With a “Big Three” made up of Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Sabrina Ionescu, the Liberty now has one of the most talented “rosters” in the league, and is more than ever in pursuit of the first title in its history.
“Our objective this season is to win the title and I think the three of us are in agreement on this point” said Breanna Stewart, alongside Jonquel Jones and Sabrina Ionescu, during media day. “That said, it’s not for today, or tomorrow, or the next two weeks. What’s going to happen is we’re going to create a certain standard and strive for excellence, and that’s what’s going to help us achieve that goal.”.
Create a winning culture
Although New York is one of the biggest markets in the league, Liberty has never won the title. Team coach Sandy Brondello stressed the importance of building a winning culture and an environment with values players can agree on.
In 2014, Sandy Brondello was named WNBA Coach of the Year after leading the Mercury to an all-time-high 29 wins (out of 34 games) in the regular season before claiming the title in stride. She knows the way, and is therefore well placed to know that an XXL squad does not guarantee a champion ring.
“Teamwork, trust, responsibility and respect” quoted Sandy Brondello. “ We need to build a winning culture before we can do anything. We have given our word on what we are going to put in place this year”.
Finally a good year for Sabrina Ionescu?
Selected in first position in the 2020 Draft, Sabrina Ionescu has never hidden her desire to play for the title. If the New York Liberty participated well in the playoffs in 2022, it lost in the first round against Chicago Sky.
The 2023 campaign will be different, however, because injury-free, Joe Tsai’s New York Liberty (also owner of the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA) must fight for the title after its XXL offseason.
“We have worked to become an attractive team, which others want to be part of” said the leader of New York. “Now it’s up to us to go out there, perform, bond and do whatever we can to win the title.”.
With an early career disrupted by injuries, she was never able to express herself fully over time. All-Star for the first time last season, she intends to continue this momentum.
“I think for me to have had my first injury-free offseason and to have been able to train from the day the season ended until today has already been rewarding. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to be here and give it my all.” concludes Sabrina Ionescu.