The New York Liberty’s playoff run is over after the Chicago Sky closed out the series with a 90-72 win on Tuesday. The Liberty were hosting their first playoff game in Barclays Center and the first WNBA playoff home game since 2017 when they lost to the Washington Mystics in the semifinals. New York hasn’t been back to the second-round since.
With Coach Sandy Brondello leading the Liberty to their second straight playoff berth, New York looks to have a bright future while being led by a young superstar in Sabrina Ionescu and the veteran presence of Betnijah Laney, Natasha Howard, and Stefanie Dolson. Although the Liberty hasn’t won a title in its history, Joe Tsai, who bought the Liberty from James Dolan in 2019, has brought stability since moving the franchise to Brooklyn.
New York finished the season with a 16-20 record and earned the No. 7 seed for the playoffs. Although Brondello said she was proud that the Liberty could “get back and play with a better sense of urgency,” she also had to give credit to Chicago’s chemistry and poise. She also said New York reached their goal of making the playoffs despite a “new coach, new system, new players coming in, and with our injury toll” messing up their chemistry.
Sandy Brondello: "Our goal was to make the playoffs, then it's a new season. We went to Chicago and beat them. I think we woke them up a little bit, because now they've gone to another level. This is what their experience brings out." (Q: @busyxb) #OwnTheCrown #WNBA— Myles (@MylesEhrlich) August 24, 2022
The next step, according to Brondello, is continuing to add the right players around their core and to keep building. She also said New York would have to become consistent on the defensive side of the ball. Brondello is a fan of New York’s small-ball lineup for its effectiveness and how well that group has utilized Laney’s scoring and playmaking versatility.
Howard also gave to Chicago’s balance and championship experience. She believes that New York “progressed really well,” despite the injuries to the lineup. The most important part to her is that the Liberty “stood together through everything,” including “adversity, wins, and losses.”
Natasha Howard: "I think we progressed really well, even with injuries. I think we grew as a team and individuals. We stood together through everything: adversity, wins and losses." (Q: @alexaphilippou) #OwnTheCrown— Myles (@MylesEhrlich) August 24, 2022
With the season officially over, the Liberty will hope to take the next step as a franchise by winning their first playoff series since 2017 while riding the coat tails of Ionescu, Laney, Howard, and Dolson.