New York Liberty

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New York Liberty
founding 1997
history New York Liberty
since 1997
Stadion Prudential Center
(2011 to 2013)
Madison Square Garden
(1997 to 2010 and 2014 to 2017)
Westchester County Center (2018 to 2019)
Barclays Center (from 2020)
Location Brooklyn , New York
Club colors blue, orange, green
league WNBA
Conference Eastern Conference
Head coach Walt Hopkins
General manager Jonathan Kolb
owner Joseph Tsai
Championships no
Conference title 1999 , 2000 , 2002 , 2016 *, 2017 * (* after regular season)

The New York Liberty are a team of the North American women's basketball professional league WNBA ( Women's National Basketball Association ). The team plays its home games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn , New York .

The team name comes from the Statue of Liberty .

The New York Liberty have been in the WNBA final four times, but have never won a WNBA championship.


Successful start (1997 to 2002)

The New York Liberty are among the teams that have been with the WNBA since its inception. In the initial player allocation , the Liberty were lucky enough to get Rebecca Lobo . Lobo was considered one of the best basketball players in college at the time. In the first WNBA season in 1997 , Lobo led the Liberty to the WNBA Finals, where they met the Houston Comets . However, the Liberty had no chance against the strong playing Cynthia Cooper and Sheryl Swoopes and clearly lost the final with 51-65. In the 1998 season , the Liberty could not qualify for the playoffs despite 18 wins in 30 games. The 1999 season began with a big shock for the Liberty, because in the opening minutes of the first game of the season Lobo was injured so badly that she had to sit out two full seasons. In the absence of Lobo, Teresa Weatherspoon matured more and more to become the new superstar of Liberty. She managed to get the Liberty back into the WNBA Finals without Lobo. This year they met the Comets again. Even though this series spanned three games, the Liberty had little chance of defeating the Comets. Also in the 2000 season they made it back to the WNBA finals, where they again failed because of the insurmountable Houston Comets. In the 2001 season Lobo returned to the Liberty team. However, she was unable to match the performances from the first two seasons and sat most of the time on the Liberty bench. After that season, she was transferred to the Houston Comets for a second-round pick (26th overall) in the 2002 WNBA Draft . In the 2002 season , the Liberty made it back to the WNBA Finals, where they met Lisa Leslie and the Los Angeles Sparks this time . But like three times before, the Liberty remained unsuccessful in the finals this year.

Seasons without great success (2003 to 2012)

As it became increasingly clear in the 2003 season that Weatherspoons best days are over, their substitute Becky Hammon moved more and more into the limelight of Liberty. After Hammon even worked out his place in the starting line-up of Weatherspoon during the season, Weatherspoon's contract was not extended after the season and Hammon was thus in the starting line-up of Liberty for the entire 2004 season . Hammon managed together with Tari Phillips to lead the Liberty to the Eastern Conference Finals, where the Liberty had to admit defeat to the Connecticut Sun in two games. After the season, Tari Phillips did not renew with the Liberty and instead signed with the Houston comets. But as with Weatherspoon before, Liberty managed to fill this position on an equal footing with Ann Wauters . However, Wauters injured himself during the season and could not play in the playoffs for Liberty, which clearly failed in the Conference Semifinals due to the Indiana Fever . Before the start of the 2007 season, the Liberty Becky Hammon transferred to the San Antonio Silver Stars for Jessica Davenport and a first-round pick in the 2007 WNBA Draft . The Liberty were the last team in the east to qualify for the playoffs this season. The Liberty were considered a great underdog in the playoffs, where they almost threw the reigning champions from Detroit out of the competition. After the Liberty were able to win the first game in the series, they lost the second game with 73-76 and the all-important game only in the overtime with 70-71. Also in the coming seasons, the Liberty regularly reached the playoffs and also regularly failed early in the playoffs.

New start with a new trainer (since 2013)

Before the 2013 seasons , the team tried a fresh start with the engagement of successful coach Bill Laimbeer , who won three WNBA titles with the Detroit Shock . The hoped-for success did not materialize at the beginning and the team failed to qualify for the playoffs twice in a row. The team was only able to reach the postseason again in the 2015 season . The Liberty even achieved the best record in the Estern Conference and the season only ended with a defeat in the Conference Finals against the Indiana Fever . In 2016 the team again reached the playoffs with the best record of the Eastern Conference. After a bye in the first round of the new playoff system , the team failed despite home advantage as the third best team in the WNBA in the second round against the Phoenix Mercury team , which had a weaker record in the regular season. 2017 was a copy of the preseason. Again the Liberty were best team in the east and third best in the league. This time the Washington Mystics were the final destination in the 2nd round of the playoffs. After relocating to Westchester County Center, the Liberty played the worst season since its inception in the 2018 season with just 7 wins in 34 games. In 2019 at least 10 games were won, but the playoffs were again clearly missed.


The Barclays Center
season Audience
audience average
1997 13,270 9,669
1998 14,935 10,869
1999 13,797 10.207
2000 14,935 9,074
2001 15,671 9,075
2002 14,670 9,228
2003 12,491 8,800
2004 9,886 8,613
2005 10.140 8,172
2006 9,120 7,479
2007 8,698 7,742
2008 9,045 7,952
season Audience
audience average
2009 9,800 8,039
2010 11,069 7,834
2011 7,702 7,955
2012 6,762 7,457
2013 7,189 7,531
2014 8,949 7,578
2015 9,159 7,318
2016 9,727 7,655
2017 9,889 7,716
2018 2,823 6,769
2019 2,239 6,535

The New York Liberty played their home games from their inception until 2017 in the famous Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York. From 2011 to 2013, the team played for renovations in the traditional hall at the Prudential Center in New Jersey. At the time, the MSG was also home to the NBA team of the New York Knicks , the NHL team of the New York Islanders . The AFL team of the New York City Hawks and the NLL team of the New York Titans also played there until 1998 . For the 2018 season , the team moved to the much smaller Westchester County Center .

The Liberty will be relocated to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn for the 2020 season and beyond after the team was purchased in 2019 by Joseph Tsai , owner of the Brooklyn Nets .

Audience numbers

The team's audience numbers in all seasons in the MSG were well above the WNBA average. In some seasons even five-digit values ​​were achieved. Only in the three seasons in exile in New Jersey was the attendance below average. Since returning to New York, the values ​​have increased from season to season and in the end they almost reach five-digit values ​​again. After moving to the Westchester County Center, the number of viewers decreased significantly. In the first season there in 2018, the team set two negative records. On the one hand, an average of 2,823 spectators meant the weakest visit of all teams in WNBA history. At the same time, the decrease of 7,066 viewers or 71.5% was previously unique in the WNBA. In 2019, the negative record was even broken with 2,239 spectators per game.

Achievements and honors

Sporting successes

The franchise reached the WNBA finals four times in its first six seasons ( 1997 , 1999 , 2000 , 2002 ), but never won the championship. In the following seasons, the Liberty only reached the Conference Finals four times - most recently in 2015 . In the 1999 , 2000 , 2002 , 2015 , 2016 and 2017 seasons , the Liberty were the best regular season team in the Eastern Conference.

Individual awards

After the team was a founding member of the league and was also successful in sport with four WNBA finals participations, few individual awards could be won in comparison. The honor as coach of the year after the 2015 season was only the eighth of these honors. The players have so far been particularly successful in the category of the most improved player.

Sportsmanship Award The honor of being the fairest player in the league has so far gone to a player from the New York team.

Coach of the Year Award  : After Bill Laimbeer won the award for the best coach of the regular season in Detroit, he also received it in New York in 2015.

Most Improved Player Award : The award for the most improved player has already gone to Liberty players four times.

Peak Performers An award for best statistical values ​​only went to New York in the 20th season of the WNBA. Tina Charles was then doubly successful.

Defensive Player of the Year Award : Teresa Weatherspoon received the award for the best female defensive player of the regular season twice.

Sixth Woman of the Year Award : In the 2017 season, Sugar Rodgers was the first Liberty player to be honored as Best Supplementary Player.

Season overview

Abbreviations: Sp. = Games, S = victories, N = defeats

season Sp. S. N Wins in% space Play-offs
1997 28 17th 11 60.7 2nd, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 1-0 ( Phoenix Mercury ),
defeat in the WNBA Finals, 0-1 ( Houston Comets )
1998 30th 18th 12 60.0 3rd, Eastern Conference not qualified
1999 32 18th 14th 56.3 1st, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Finals, 2-1 ( Charlotte Sting ),
loss in the WNBA Finals, 1: 2 ( Houston Comets )
2000 32 20th 12 62.5 1st, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-0 ( Washington Mystics )
victory in the Conference Finals, 2-1 ( Cleveland Rockers )
defeat in the WNBA Finals, 0-2 ( Houston Comets )
2001 32 21st 11 65.6 2nd, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2: 1 ( Miami Sol ),
Loss in the Conference Finals, 1: 2 ( Charlotte Sting )
2002 32 18th 14th 56.3 1st, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-1 ( Indiana Fever )
victory in the Conference Finals, 2-1 ( Washington Mystics )
defeat in the WNBA Finals, 0-2 ( Los Angeles Sparks )
2003 34 16 18th 47.1 6th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2004 34 18th 16 52.9 2nd, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-1 ( Detroit Shock )
Defeat in the Conference Finals, 0-2 ( Connecticut Sun )
2005 34 18th 16 52.9 3rd, Eastern Conference Conference Semifinals lost, 2-0 ( Indiana Fever )
2006 34 11 23 32.4 5th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2007 34 16 18th 47.1 4th, Eastern Conference Conference semifinals lost, 2-1 ( Detroit Shock )
2008 34 19th 15th 55.9 3rd, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-1 ( Connecticut Sun ),
Loss in the Conference Finals, 1: 2 ( Detroit Shock )
2009 34 13 21st 38.2 7th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2010 34 22nd 12 64.7 2nd, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-1 ( Indiana Fever ),
defeat in the Conference Finals, 0-2 ( Atlanta Dream )
2011 34 19th 15th 55.9 4th, Eastern Conference Conference semifinals lost, 2-1 ( Indiana Fever )
2012 34 15th 19th 44.1 4th, Eastern Conference Conference semifinals lost, 2-0 ( Connecticut Sun )
2013 34 11 23 32.4 5th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2014 34 15th 19th 44.1 5th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2015 34 23 11 67.6 1st, Eastern Conference Victory in the Conference Semifinals, 2-1 ( Washington Mystics )
Loss in the Conference Finals, 1: 2 ( Indiana Fever )
2016 34 21st 13 61.8 1st, Eastern Conference Second round loss, 0-1 ( Phoenix Mercury )
2017 34 22nd 12 64.7 1st, Eastern Conference Second round defeat, 0-1 ( Washington Mystics )
2018 34 7th 27 20.6 5th, Eastern Conference not qualified
2019 34 10 24 29.4 5th, Eastern Conference not qualified
total 764 388 376 50.8 15 playoff appearances in 23 seasons
26 series: 11 wins, 15 losses
63 games: 27 wins, 36 losses (42.9%)


owner Period
Cablevision 1997 to 2009
Madison Square Garden, Inc. 2010 to 2019
Joseph Tsai since 2019

The first owner of the New York Liberty was Cablevision , who at that time also owned the New York Knicks . At the beginning of 2010, Cablevision founded the subsidiary Madison Square Garden, Inc. With this establishment, Cablevision transferred the entire ownership rights to its sports teams (Libery, Knicks, New York Rangers and Hartford Wolf Pack ) to the subsidiary. Madison Square Garden, Inc. has been running Liberty’s business since 2010 .


Surname season Regular season Playoffs
GC W. L. GC W. L.
Nancy Darsch 1997 to 1998 58 35 23 2 1 1
Richie Adubato 1999 to 2004 178 100 78 27 14th 13
Pat Coyle 2004 to 2009 171 81 90 16 6th 10
Anne Donovan 2009 to 2010 51 29 22nd 5 2 3
John Whisenant 2011 to 2012 68 34 34 5 1 4th
Bill Laimbeer 2013 to 2017 170 92 78 8th 3 5
Katie Smith 2018 to 2019 68 17th 51 - - -
Walt Hopkins from 2020 - - - - - -

Abbreviations: GC = games, W = wins, L = defeats


Squad of the 2020 season

As of July 23, 2020

No. country Surname position Date of birth Experience
0 United StatesUnited States Leaonna Odom Forward 03/26/1998 Rookie Duke University
3 United StatesUnited States Megan Walker Forward 11/23/1998 Rookie University of Connecticut
4th United StatesUnited States Jazmine Jones Guard 10/15/1996 Rookie University of Louisville
5 CanadaCanada Kia Nurse Guard 02/22/1996 2 seasons University of Connecticut
7th United StatesUnited States Layshia Clarendon Guard 05/02/1991 7 seasons University of California, Berkeley
10 United StatesUnited States Joyner Holmes Forward 02/22/1998 Rookie University of Texas
13 United StatesUnited States Jocelyn Willoughby Guard / Forward 03/25/1998 Rookie University of Virginia
17th SwedenSweden Amanda Zahui B. center 09/08/1993 5 seasons University of Minnesota
20th United StatesUnited States Sabrina Ionescu Guard December 06, 1997 Rookie University of Oregon
24 United StatesUnited States Kylie Shook Forward 03/18/1998 Rookie University of Louisville
25th United StatesUnited States Asia Durr Guard 04/05/1997 1 season University of Louisville
41 United StatesUnited States Kiah Stokes center 03/30/1993 4 seasons University of Connecticut

First-round voting rights in the WNBA Draft

Since 1997, the club had 20 draft rights in the first round of the WNBA draft in 21 seasons . Only in 2001 , 2002 , 2010 and 2017 did the Liberty franchise not have a first-round draft pick due to trades. In three drafts, two players could even be selected in the first round ( 2008 , 2013 and 2015 ).

Although the Liberty are among the founding members of the WNBA, they have not yet had a draft right to any of the top three positions. The earliest player selected so far is Alyssa Thomas who was selected in fourth position in the 2014 draft . This is also one of the reasons why none of the team's players received the award for best newcomer of the year . In the lottery for the WNBA Draft 2010 , the Liberty would have been awarded the first draft right, but the year before they had given their draft right to the Minnesota Lynx .

In the 2017 season , Brittany Boyd and Kiah Stokes , two players selected by the team in the first round of the draft, were still in the club's squad.

Withdrawn jersey numbers

As the only jersey number so far, the number 11 has been withdrawn in honor of the American Teresa Weatherspoon .

No. Surname
11 Teresa Weatherspoon

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ New York Liberty Draft History. WNBA, accessed July 19, 2012 .
  2. ^ All-Time WNBA Draft Picks. WNBA, accessed November 30, 2016 .