| 2006 Record|
(5th in East)
Award Winners & Honorees
2006 Draft Recap
Dispersal Draft Results
In Shemeka Christon's third season in the WNBA, the forward took on a starting role for the first time and became one of the go-to players at both ends of the floor. She led the Liberty in blocks per game as a small forward (1.24) and averaged 12.4 points per game. Individually, she made great strides and improved in 12 out of 15 statistical categories. Her scoring, rebounding and blocks have gone up every year since she was a rookie.
At 5-6, Becky Hammon is the littlest star on Broadway. She led New York in points with 14.7 per game. She finished the season with a league-best free throw percentage of over 96%. Once again, she was voted to start for the Eastern Conference All-Stars at Madison Square Garden, but she did not play due to an injury.
Additional positives to take out of 2006 were the successful additions of veteran forward Barb Farris and rookie Sherrill Baker. Baker was the Liberty's first-round pick and showed glimpses of greatness and blazing speed. Most notably, the Liberty found their stride and finished strong down the stretch. The Lib won seven of their last 10 games and were 5-1 on their home court in that span.
The Liberty were disappointed by their fifth-place finish, missing out on the playoffs for only the second time in 10 years. Of course, the team did replace four of its five starters from 2005 prior to the start of the season, which was the root of their struggles. Crystal Robinson and Vickie Johnson joined new teams through free agency, Elena Baranova stayed home in Russia to have a baby and Ann Wauters took the year off to stay in Europe.
Even the one returning starter was in and out of the lineup. Plagued by an ankle injury, veteran leader and superstar Becky Hammon was sidelined for 12 games. Aside from Christon, the Liberty did not have a consistent scorer and often did not know where they were getting their next basket. Just trying to keep its head above water, the team finished second to last in the league in points per game (69.8), field goals made (822) and rebounds per game (30).
|Head Coach |
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Loree Moore
-G- Becky Hammon
-F- Shameka Christon
-F- Barbara Farris
-C- Kelly Schumacher
Key 2006 Reserves
The Liberty hope to see a healthy Becky Hammon in 2007, which would provide the team with a leader and a top scorer. She is an All-Star and her scoring and distribution abilities are crucial to the team's success. But where else will the help come from?
After being chosen first in the 2005 WNBA Draft, Janel McCarville found herself available to the Liberty, who took the strong post player with the third pick in the Charlotte Dispersal Draft. McCarville has yet to establish herself as a go-to player, but she should provide the Liberty with flexibility. She can play both the forward and center positions, passes well for a big and has been playing superbly overseas. She finished the 2006 season with the Sting averaging 4.5 ppg, 0.67 blocks per game and 0.57 steals per game. At 6-2, McCarville is a tough defender, but questions remain as to whether or not she can fulfill the promise.
But the Liberty have not done much else to fill the void in the post. New York needs at least one or two rotation players to improve this season, though they did finish last season on a roll. If the team can continue the way they left off, Liberty fans just might find justice after all.