Liberty’s debut on the principle courtroom at Barclays Heart is three weeks away – Could 14 in opposition to the Indiana Fever – however on Sunday, Joe Tsai’s facet will start their journey to Brooklyn once they open their coaching camp in his. unique enviornment.
A complete of 19 gamers are on the camp’s roster, which is led by sophomore Sabrina Ionescu and consists of two stars earned in the course of the offseason, former defensive participant of the 12 months Natasha Howard and former participant la extra improved Betnijah Laney. Of the 19, six is not going to be available for the opening of the camp, together with Howard, Laney and Asia Durr, quantity 2 of 2019. Durr was injured a lot of her freshman 12 months. Final 12 months, Durr was most likely the skilled athlete most affected by COVID-19. The WNBA roster is restricted to 12 gamers.
Ionescu, thought-about a generational participant, was restricted to 3 video games in final season’s “wubble” with a grade 3 ankle sprain, essentially the most critical. In an interview with ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel final week, Guard Liberty mentioned she felt like a rookie.
“I’ve by no means been taken out of the sport for therefore lengthy,” Ionescu informed ESPN in an interview with Zoom on Monday, “so it actually opened my eyes and made me respect what I’ve. when I’ve it. “
The Oregon product additionally mentioned her ankle harm, which required minor surgical procedure, resulted in a “brutal” rehabilitation that was hampered by the pandemic.
“Through the pandemic, I wasn’t actually attempting to get in contact with a gaggle of individuals, particularly since I did not know the place they had been,” she mentioned. “I did not need to threat my well being. So I caught with my coach and sort of walked away, getting all my abilities work, after which lastly stepping again in 5v5 as soon as it was secure to take action.
Along with Ionescu, the camp’s roster consists of seven returning gamers from final 12 months’s squad that completed 2-20, the league’s worst document; All-Rookie Staff Choice Jazmine Jones, veteran guard Layshia Clarendon, veteran heart Kiah Stokes and sophomores Joyner Holmes, Leaonna Odom, Kylee Shook and Jocelyn Willoughby.
Liberty’s 4 picks, led by No.6 decide and UCLA defensive ace Michaela Onyenwere, may also be in camp.
Ionescu mentioned she was excited to play Brooklyn with all the brand new additions, particularly veteran GM Jonathan Kolb acquired. Howard has gained three WNBA titles with the Seattle Storm and Sami Whitcomb, acquired in the identical commerce, has two.
“I do not suppose there may be actually a cap on what we will accomplish,” Ionescu mentioned.
“I understand how to speak to them, they’re very excited and I feel that claims loads about who they’re as individuals and rivals as a result of we completed final. If you wish to get two gamers from a league staff to affix the final staff within the league, I feel that claims loads about who they’re, how aggressive they’re and the way they understand us and what they’re. see. we.”
Liberty’s press launch didn’t establish the courtroom that might be used for the camp, nevertheless it appears seemingly it can happen on the small coaching floor subsequent to the Barclays foyer. Barclays Heart can be finishing a brand new locker room for the Liberty. New York will start its preseason schedule on Could 3, when the staff journey to Connecticut to face the solar.
Liberty will play a 34-game schedule with all residence video games performed in Brooklyn. Tsai and his spouse, Clara Wu Tsai, purchased the staff in 2019 from James Dolan and MSG for $ 10-14 million, promising to carry the staff again to New York after two seasons at White Plains and earlier than that, three seasons. in Newark. .