16-18, .471 (4th in East)
2007 Starting Lineup
2007 Key Reserves
2007 Draft Recap
2008 Key Additions
2008 Key Losses
The Liberty made a blockbuster trade on draft day, sending superstar Becky Hammon to the San Antonio Silver Stars in exchange for the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft and a first round pick in 2008. The trade was another significant step in the youth movement New York began in 2006 and received mixed reviews from fans and experts alike. While the Liberty quieted some of their critics by jumping out to an impressive 5-0 start, they followed it by showing signs of a young team with inconsistent play throughout the season. After suffering through a seven-game losing streak in the middle of the season, New York was able to rebound and secure the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a record of 16-18.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
The departure of Hammon opened up the door for playing time and scoring opportunities for the Liberty and many players responded with career-best years. Erin Thorn was inserted into the starting lineup and averaged 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists, all career highs. Point guard Loree Moore also had her best year as a pro in 2007 – averaging 9.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.2 steals – earning a spot on the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team. Catherine Kraayveld started every game for the Liberty and averaged 10.8 points a night, while leading the team in 3-point shooting percentage.
New York brought in three new post players for 2007, highlighted by Janel McCarville, who came to the Liberty in the Charlotte Sting Dispersal Draft. McCarville, the top pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft, averaged 10.4 points and 4.8 rebounds and shot a league-best 54.6 percent from the field on her way to winning the WNBA’s Most Improved Player award. Rookies Tiffany Jackson and Jessica Davenport received a good amount of playing time from coach Pat Coyle and established themselves as solid pieces in her rotation.
In the postseason, the Liberty put a scare into the Detroit Shock with an exciting three-game series. New York blew out Detroit by 22 points in Game 1, but was unable to finish off the defending champs on the Shock’s home floor. Detroit won Game 2 by three points and won the series with a 71-70 overtime victory in Game 3. The playoff experience gained from this series should prove valuable in the future for this young Liberty squad.
WHAT WENT WRONG
When the Liberty made the decision to rebuild the team with a young core, they knew there would be growing pains. It is said that you can’t teach experience and it held true for this team. As the youngest team in the WNBA – the 2007 roster features five rookies and only one player with more than five years of experience – they were bound to make mistakes.
The departure of Hammon also left a void of a go-to player in the clutch. While the Liberty offense featured balance – their top five scorers averaged from 9.6 to 11.2 points per game – they did not have that one player to take over a game when needed.
NEEDS / FUTURE
New York spent its offseason locking up its core players with contract extensions for Shameka Christon, McCarville, Moore and top reserve Ashley Battle. The Liberty hold two first round picks in the talent-rich 2008 WNBA Draft – No. 7 and No. 14 overall – and should be able to find more young talent to add to their squad. While New York has no gaping holes to fill, the Liberty could use additional scoring inside to go along with their league-leading shooting from 3-point range.
In 2007, New York beat the odds by turning a rebuilding project into a playoff team. Now with another year of experience under their collective belt, they will look to challenge the top teams in the Eastern Conference, not only for a playoff berth, but for a run toward the Finals.