Liberty Sponsors Wheelchair Hoop Team

New York, NY - March 17, 2006 It might not be summer yet, but there’s another “Liberty” team that has been lighting up the court recently. In continuing with the New York Liberty’s tradition of being a significant contributor to the community, we are honored to share with you the recent accomplishments of the United Spinal Liberty Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team. The New York Liberty has recently become a sponsor of the wheelchair hoop team, which is a member of the United Spinal Association.

The United Spinal Liberty participated in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Women's Division National Championships this past weekend in Birmingham, AL. The team, comprised of all high school girls, played against some of the best women's teams in the country. Many of the women the team competed against were older and more experienced - some of which have even been invited to try out for the United States Women's Paralympic Basketball Team. They also got a chance to play against and meet Paralympians from the 2004 Athens games that won Gold for the USA and Bronze for Canada. Suffice it to say, it was both a learning and growing experience for all involved. The team also met with the head coaches for the Universities of Alabama, Arizona and Illinois. The players were encouraged to see they could go to college and still play wheelchair basketball, and in some cases, earn a scholarship.

The United Spinal Liberty lost their first two games, won their third against the Steel City Starz, then wrapped up the competition with a tough loss to Banner Health Mercury. With only 14 women's teams in the United States and Canada, we are proud to be the 10th place team in the tournament.

Congratulations to the United Spinal Liberty players: Caitlin Chasar, Emily Seelenfreund, Mariya Redden, Jillian Marks, Sarah Poisez and Bethany Devault; coach Re Marks; and support staff Helen Parsons and Rachelle Grossman, for sacrificing their time and for working so hard to break into the Top 10. The consensus was that you have to start somewhere and the girls did a great job in their first season.