Kraayeveld Key to Success for Liberty

From the starting lineup to the bench and back to the starting lineup, Cathrine Kraayeveld has not only been one of the most important players to the Liberty’s playoff push this season. According to her new coach, she’s been one of the most valuable players in the entire WNBA for quite some time now.  

“Cathrine is the most underrated player in the league in my opinion,” interim head coach Anne Donovan said on Sunday.  

And there may not be anyone in women’s basketball history that has been around more talent than Donovan, who coached the U.S. women’s team to a gold medal in last summer’s Olympics in Beijing and won a WNBA title with Seattle in 2004.  

“Coming from Coach Donovan,” Kraayeveld says, “that’s a great compliment.”   

After starting all 34 regular-season games in the previous two summers, Kraayeveld watched her season get off to a rocky start and found herself in a sixth-woman role by the end of July. But her stint as a reserve would only last eight games before she was back in the position that clearly helps her team the most – starting at power forward.  

With Kraayeveld back in the starting five, the Liberty have won three of their last six, including a 77-63 triumph over the Chicago Sky on August 30th to even the season series (2-2) move New York within a game and a half of fourth place (as of August 31st). Kraayeveld was limited to seven points in the must-win game, however pulled down a season-high 13 rebounds and, most importantly, did the little things that don’t always show up on the box score.   

“I think it’s pretty clear that everyone is more confident with Cathrine being in the starting lineup,” Donovan said. “They know where she’s going to be, how to get her the ball and where she’s most successful. I think there’s a confidence level that Cathrine has and the team has when she’s out there.”  

Kraayeveld’s confidence on the floor stands out in her long-range shooting, averaging over 40 percent from downtown for the second time in her career, despite her shaky start to the season.  

“My confidence has always been there,” Kraayeveld said. “It’s just that sometimes you start off slow and have a slump, but it never really went away.”

The Liberty are hoping that her confidence remains high as they continue to fight for a postseason berth. The team clearly plays better when she's on the floor.   

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