Sandy Brondello, Courtney Vandersloot, Breanna Stewart, Jonathan Kolb, and the NY Liberty
5-6-23 NY Liberty Training Camp

The New York Liberty Built Their Foundation During Training Camp

For the New York Liberty, a new season means having unfinished business.

Last season was a banner year for the Seafoam. The team had its most successful regular season (32-8), captured the Commissioner’s Cup and captivated New York City on the way to its first Finals appearance since 2002. Although the Liberty fell short of the ultimate goal, it was a season to be proud of.

“I know things didn’t end in the way that we would have liked but all in all, I think if anything we can make progress from that, especially with it being our first year,” Betnijah Laney-Hamilton recently told The Local W at a community event. “I know expectations and everything were high, but look what we did in one year. [It was] something that it takes a lot of teams years to get to, so I think we definitely made a step in the right direction. It’s something that we can learn from and hopefully obtain the goal of winning the championship.”

The journey to capture the chip began in earnest on April 28 when training camp began in Brooklyn.

April 30, 2024: Nyara Sabally and Sabrina Ionescu at New York Liberty training camp. Image via the New York Liberty

With training camp closed and the regular season started, let’s break down some themes that emerged and will be prevalent this season.


The second year tends to be smoother when putting together a new core. Everyone is more familiar with each other having a year of experience to rely on, and those reps turn into lessons learned when pressure mounts. Eight Liberty players from 2023’s training camp returned, but there are ten new faces this year. With new players, getting comfortable with the system in place takes time.

During the end-of-practice huddle on April 30, Kayla Thornton mentioned that the team had a better day since players were not turning the ball over as much compared to the first few days of camp. Sabrina Ionescu added that the team was not forcing anything and got easier, open shots because of it. Players call out actions at practice and ensure everyone is where they need to be. That communication and willingness to help one another helps the bonding process go smoother.

Driving For Success

During exit interviews last year, Liberty GM Jonathan Kolb talked about the importance of being more athletic. That was a missing ingredient from a talented roster that could not get downhill as other teams could. Now, it seems the team has found a missing ingredient.

Coming out of Ole Miss, Marquesha Davis’s ability to get to the rim was one of her best attributes. Her speed and length should help the team on both sides of the ball. “Paint to great“ is one of Sandy Brondello’s guiding principles, and Davis’s play fits that ethos.

Davis’s athleticism has already drawn comparisons to some of the league’s best.

Davis gives the Liberty a new element on offense and can lead to more points in transition.

It is tough for any rookie to transition to the pros. And for rookie guards, it is a bit tougher as they have to initiate the offense and learn new plays in two weeks. The mistakes are a bit louder, but part of the learning process.

Liberty Prepare For the Present and Future

Making a WNBA roster is hard with only 144 total roster spots available, but that does not tell the whole story. Due to the hard salary cap, it is not guaranteed that each team will be able to roster 12 players. As a result, there is a lot of maneuvering teams must do to field a roster throughout the season. With at least one new team coming in 2025, teams and fanbases have had to to say goodbye to some of their favorite rotation players.

Some tough choices were made by the Liberty, including waiving former Colorado guard Jaylyn Sherrod. Even with that, a big camp serves many purposes.

“It allows you to put more eyes on more players because usually it’s hard to bring someone who’s a hardship when they haven’t been in the system,” Brondello said after practice on April 30. “The system is really hard. It’s not just ‘get out there, run around and play basketball.’ It’s very complex. … That’s why the younger players take a little bit of time because it’s a different style than what they’re used to.

But it allows us to continue to keep an eye on them. Help them with feedback and development if they go and are not here with us when they leave. But a lot of the time, we’ve brought back people we’ve known. We like them, we just maybe don’t have a space now, but we know down the track we will.”

Over the past few years, the Liberty have built a pipeline