Liberty Losses Provide Learning Opportunities


The New York Liberty are 1-3 through their first four games. The three losses are, simply put, not ideal. However, the team should view them as learning opportunities. The regular season is a marathon not a sprint. Taking it one game at a time and figuring out where they need to improve is the recipe for success. The question is, what area needs the most improvement?

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Liberty are in the bottom half of the league in nearly all advanced team statistics. Statistics don’t always tell the whole story, but in this case they tell most of it. Again, it is early in the season, but this is not where the team wanted to be through four games.

Natasha Howard has been less than impressive on the offensive end. She’s shooting 29% from the field, her lowest field goal percentage of her career. On a positive note and to no one’s surprise she’s been dominant on the defensive end. Also, she’s helping the young players grow.

Liberty Center Han Xu has looked out of place at times, but with Howard’s direction and mentorship Xu is steadily sharpening her game. When veterans are willing to guide the young players, it shows the chemistry within the team.

Sub-Par Sabrina 

Sabrina Ionescu has had a rollercoaster of a season. Specifically, her season has looked more like a rocket launching into space only to malfunction and crash back to earth. She had 25 points in the team’s win against the Connecticut Sun, but the next game she only had two points.

While the former Oregon Duck isn’t entirely to blame for the team’s poor record, she needs to be consistent on offense if the Liberty want to make the playoffs. The Libs are 10th in the league in team pace, and the player who brings the ball up dictates the pace of the team to a certain degree. In that game where she only had two points she only took five shots.

The Liberty need Ionescu to be aggressive. With how well she plays at times it can be easy to forget she’s only in her third year in the league. Still, as a young star and a leader on this team Ionescu needs to be held accountable. 

Super Han

Han Xu has been extremely fun this season. She’s still a very raw player, but there’s plenty of upside with her size and athleticism. Head Coach Sandy Brondello had praise for the Chinese native after the Liberty’s loss to the Dallas Wings. 

Han likely won’t see a lot of playing time this year with Howard and Stefanie Dolson ahead of her in the depth chart. When she does play, she needs to value those minutes and make the most of them, as she has so far. Her performance against the Dallas Wings was phenomenal. Her best highlight of the night came on a beautiful catch-and-shoot three pointer. A 6’10 Center who can shoot from deep is a dangerous weapon in this league.


Fans are calling for Xu to dunk. She has arguably been the most fun player to watch on this Liberty team. The sky is the limit for someone with that much potential.

Working Out The Kinks

It’s too early to draw conclusions for this WNBA season. The Liberty have flaws they need to address as a team. Both of these sentences can be true. It was only two years ago the Liberty were the youngest team ever in league history.

Now, through the front office’s “hybrid rebuild” strategy they find themselves in a position to make a playoff run and be contenders for years to come. There is no need to hit the panic button as long as this team can rise to the challenge and start winning some games.

About Mike Perry

NBA and WNBA writer and podcaster

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