Familiar Faces on Liberty Roster
Are you surprised by any of the moves Coach Laimbeer has made during the off-season?
I haven’t been too surprised but kind of… Bill is the type of person that needs particular types of attitudes to implement his system. He’s looking for players who will create camaraderie and have willingness to do the little things to win a chip. Everyone that he picked up or re-signed has that kind of mentality. Most everyone on this team has two championships so we understand what we need to do day in and day out. That experience and example will help bring the younger players coming in along. The experience is a benefit. When you have veteran players instead of having to call a time out you can save it because they can take over for themselves.
Have you spoken to any of the new players added to the roster?
I spoke to Katie Smith; we have a good relationship. We’re similar in that we’re both “rah-rah” in your face kind of people. We can get on each other. I probably talk to her the most. She’s so excited about New York City and reuniting with all of us. I can’t wait either.
You played with Deanna "Tweety" Nolan, Katie Smith, and Cheryl Ford in Detroit when you were just beginning your career. How did they help you mature on the court? What do they bring to the table?
Tweety is a great person and athlete. It helped me to have such a prolific scorer on the outside. It helped me come in and be successful on the inside. She made sure that I was confident, not nervous, and calm. She is a quiet person but led by example every day.
Katie was moved to the PG “one” position at Detroit. She’s an aggressive guard, a point guard looking to score. Katie was the vocal leader. Katie would let you know when you weren’t being accountable. She demands excellence.
Cheryl led by example as well. She is consistent. You knew what she was going to give you: rebounds, offensive rebounds, and a double-double each night. I admired her knack for the ball as a rebounder. She is determined. Comes in each day to do her job.
How will New York Liberty practices be different this year?
Practices are going to be intense. More than we’ve seen in the past. Bill believes that you practice how you play. He will make sure we’re going hard at each other. Practices will be physical. We won’t even expect a foul on game day (laughs).
Last season’s team had good camaraderie off the court. With the new faces, how do you predict this season’s team will get along?
It may start slow as we’ve all gone our separate ways but I think it will be even better than last year’s team. There will be A LOT of joking and laughing. We’ll probably sit in the cafeteria after practice for two hours. Everyone is familiar with each other and there are good personalities. I can’t wait. I’m ready!
Some fans have mused that this year’s team is becoming the “Detroit Shock reincarnated”, is that a fair statement?
Change brings uncertainty in people. I can see how people see former Shock members coming to New York and make that statement. But in no way, fashion or form is this team the “Bad Girls” relocated. There was only one Bad Girls and that was in Detroit. We are the New York Liberty. This is our team. New York will be a physically and mentally tougher team than we’ve been in years past. We’ve lacked that. There won’t be any other teams saying, “we used to run through New York” or “New York is a nice team”. Not any more. That won’t be the case. Ball game.
Do you think Bill Laimbeer is making the right moves in the offseason?
In my opinion, yes. He’s building a team to win games. Not just for playoffs but for a chip. I believe we can be a contender this year. Think about it. Look at the players on our roster. We are HUGE! You have a prolific scorer in Cappie. Katie is versatile and will have less pressure on her and can get in where she fits. Essence just came off of a big year last year and is hungry. Cheryl has been playing well overseas and she rebounds. We struggled to rebound in the past. Kara is ready. I speak to Kara all the time and she has a new mentality. Bill could always get the best out of her as a coach and she’s ready for a challenge. As long as people play their role we’ll be fine.