2004 Record
18-16, .529
(2nd in East)

Points Scored
2252 (8th overall, 4th in East)
Points Allowed
2297 (8th overall, 3rd in East)
Scoring Differential
-1.3 (9th overall, 3rd in East)

Award Winners & Honorees
Elena Baranova
Becky Hammon

2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 - 5, Shameka Christon
Rd. 2 - 17, Amisha Carter
Rd. 3 - 30, Cathy Joens

Playoff History
Six out of eight years
Last Appearance
2004, lost in Eastern Conference Finals

2004 In Review:
What Went Right?

One of the most consistently successful franchises in WNBA history, the Liberty advanced to the playoffs for the sixth time in eight seasons. They clinched a playoff berth with a 69-66 win at Connecticut in the penultimate game of the season.

How did they get back there after a disappointing 2003? The Liberty peaked at the right time, winning four of their final five games to tie Connecticut with the best record in the East. They drew Detroit in the playoffs and ended the Shock's reign as WNBA Champs when Bethany Donaphin's buzzer-beater gave New York a 66-64 win in Game Three and a trip to the Conference Finals. The Liberty was ultimately swept by the Sun, 2-0, ending a season of highs and lows.

In five playoff games, five different players led the Liberty in scoring. The balanced attack ensured that the team never relied too heavily on one player. During the regular season, guard Becky Hammon led the Liberty in scoring (13.5 ppg), assists (4.4) and steals (1.7 spg) in her first season as the starting point guard. Crystal Robinson had her best season (12.1 ppg), Elena Baranova also averaged double digits (11.6 ppg) and Vickie Johnson was not too far behind (9.4 points and a career-best 3.6 apg).

Baranova, one of the league's most versatile weapons, finished fourth in the league in blocks (1.7 pg), fifth in rebounds (7.2 pg) and was the league's second most accurate three-point shooter (46.1%).

What Went Wrong?

That Liberty squandered a 6-1 start, losing eight of the next nine games. General Manager Carol Blazejowski replaced long-time coach Richie Adubato with assistant Pat Coyle. The team responded with an 11-7 record, and Coyle was awarded the job full-time in December.

Hammon's transition to the point wasn't seamless. She committed a league-high 3.47 turnovers per game, contributing to the team's turnover margin of -2.2, among the worst in the league.

Tari Phillips and Ann Wauters, expected to provide size and bulk for the Liberty, both suffered season-ending injuries in July. Wauters is expected back; Phillips signed with Houston. Their injuries did provide an opportunity for Donaphin to develop, but the team's depth suffered as a result of the injuries.

Head Coach
Pat Coyle
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Becky Hammon
G- Vickie Johnson
F- Crystal Robinson
F- Bethany Donaphin
C- Elena Baranova
Key 2004 Reserves
La'Keshia Frett
Shameka Christon
DeTrina White
Key Additions
Key Losses
Tari Phillips

Looking Ahead To 2005:
Key Questions

In 2004, the Liberty withstood the loss of Teresa Weatherspoon and Tamika Whitmore. This season, aside from Phillips, their roster should return intact. The Liberty owns the 10th pick in the Draft, so they are unlikely to add a difference-maker from the college ranks unless Blazejowski is willing to deal.

Hammon, at 28, is the youngest of the team's core players. Johnson and Baranova are 33, Robinson is 31. La'Keshia Frett will turn 30 in June. When will age become a factor? Even if age doesn't impact the players directly, it certainly has salary cap implications.

Johnson, the last original member of the Liberty, failed to reach double figures for the first time since her rookie season. The seventh leading scorer in WNBA history, Johnson's shooting percentage plummeted in 2004. Was she simply enduring an off year? If she can't bounce back, will the offense have enough weapons?

Can Hammon run the point, or would she be better suited to playing with a natural point guard who can get her the ball in open spots? If the ball is in Hammon's hands, can she cut down on turnovers?

As Coyle begins her first full season at the helm, will she be able to continue the tradition of success that Adubato enjoyed in leading the team to three conference championships?