Get Ready For Battle

Through the first five games of the summer, the Liberty has a seen a considerable boost from Ashley Battle. Whether it’s off the bench, slipping into the starting line-up, knocking down a clutch three or matching up against the opponent’s best player, Battle has been a key component in New York’s transition game. It wasn’t just an effort put forth in Training Camp; the fifth year forward has put in the time to get it right.

Each year, players depart for their off-season endeavors with some homework from the coaching staff. Battle’s assignment was something she took with her overseas to Turkey and eventually back to Pittsburgh in her individual workouts before coming into Training Camp in New York.

“I had to be more consistent with my outside shot and just my game overall,” Battle said. “After the season ended, I took some time off, I needed a break. I took about a month off and then I went overseas and started working on that [my assignment] over there.”

“I would work out and do things I thought I needed to improve on and then try to apply it in team practice. And when I got home from overseas, I applied it again in my individual work-outs.”

The dedication has paid off thus far. Coming off of the bench last season, Battle was averaging 7.8 mpg, 1.6 ppg and 0.8 rpg through the first five games (NY went 2-3, back then, as well). Check her stat line now and you’ll see the significant difference as she is averaging 21.1 mpg, 8.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 1.8 apg.

In the first five games this season, she posted 10-plus points twice, grabbed five-plus rebounds twice and led the team in assists once. Her eight points an outing makes her the Liberty’s leading reserve scorer.

The scoring element of her game is something that has come with time. A member of some very successful and talented teams at the University of Connecticut, Battle was known more as a defensive threat in her collegiate days. “We had so many great players, great scorers, I had to find a niche so I could play. And it was playing defense.”

"I knew I could score, and then when the opportunity came, I did. Here, I have more of a bigger role in scoring and continuing to play defense. I work really hard and do all the little things."

Battle scored two starts already this season, filling in for the team’s leading scorer, Shameka Christon in Phoenix and San Antonio.

Starting spot or not, Battle is comfortable in in whatever role she is asked to play. “As a bench player you have more of a responsibility to try to help with the load of scoring and rebounding. But even if I am starting, that is just how I approach the game anyway.”

Catch the Liberty all summer long at Madison Square Garden. Tickets, beginning at $10, are available now by clicking here, visiting The Garden Box Office or calling 877-WNBA-TIX.