A Look Back on the Season That Was
August 21, 2006 - New York, NY - It's hard to believe, but another Liberty season has now come and gone. The city of New York has celebrated the team's 10th Anniversary, and now it's on to an 11th year. But before we start thinking ahead to next season, let's take a look back at the season that just was. Although this summer had its share of ups and downs, there were more than a few highlights to the year that we can remember fondly:
This 2006 season marked not only the 10th Anniversary of the WNBA, but of the Liberty as well. The league began in 1997 with eight charter members: Charlotte, Cleveland, Houston, Los Angles, Phoenix, Sacramento, Utah and the Liberty. Of those original members, the Cleveland Rockers disbanded and the Utah Starzz re-located to San Antonio and became the Silver Stars. Therefore, New York was one of just six teams currently in the WNBA to have celebrated its own 10th Anniversary along with the league’s in 2006.
2006 was a year for the fans to gain non-stop exposure to the Liberty. It was announced prior to the season that each and every New York game would be televised. The Liberty's television schedule was expanded to include all 34 regular season games - a first in WNBA history. It was a star-filled summer in New York. Madison Square Garden and the Liberty hosted the WNBA All-Star Game for the third time in 2006. The Liberty's very own star Becky Hammon was voted by the fans as a WNBA All-Star and a member of the starting five for the East team. Although she was unable to play due to an ankle injury, Becky was honored to be named to her third All-Star Game.
August 5th proved to be a special night for the New York Liberty franchise. Madison Square Garden and the New York Liberty honored Liberty legend Teresa Weatherspoon by hosting "Teresa Weatherspoon Night". The long-time fan favorite was recognized in a special half-time ceremony. Spoon was presented with a Solid Ground tile, along with a regulation sized backboard with the names of all the Liberty teammates she played with during her seven-year stint with the team. She was also inducted into the exclusive MSG Walk of Fame, becoming just the second woman ever to receive such an honor (Liberty SVP and GM Carol Blazejowski was the first). As a finishing touch, Spoon's name and the number 11 was permanently added to the Liberty court along the sideline. Despite a tough season, the Liberty still had several players finish among the Top 10 league leaders in various statistical categories. Becky Hammon finished the summer ranked number one in free throw shooting with a season average of .960. Shameka Christon was seventh in the WNBA in blocks per game, averaging 1.42 with a total of 42 for the season. Erin Thorn led the 3-point percentage category, shooting .431 from long distance on the season. Loree Moore made her mark defensively this season. She averaged 1.79 steals per game and finished 2006 ranked seventh in the WNBA. 2006 proved to be another year for individual milestones. Becky Hammon and Barbara Farris both reached a milestone in rebounds. On July 6th, Becky grabbed the 500th rebound of her career while Barbara Farris also hit that mark on June 21. The Liberty celebrated a franchise and WNBA milestone this season. On July 30th the Liberty had its 2 millionth fan enter The Garden doors, becoming the first team in the WNBA to reach such an attendance mark. The team honored the fan, and season subscriber, by giving her a commemorative basketball, a team-signed jersey and an oversized ticket, and upgraded her to courtside seats, where the gifts were presented to her by Liberty legend Kym Hampton. New York finished out the 2006 season strong, providing much encouragement heading into the 2007 season. The Liberty won seven of its last 10 games to wrap up this season. During that time, the team really turned it on at home, going 5-1 at The Garden.
As you can see, there were many reasons to cheer this season. And perhaps the biggest highlight of the year for the Liberty organization was the constant support of our loyal fans!