A Weekend for the Fans
The final weekend of the regular season was dedicated to and highlighted by you - the New York Liberty Fan.
On Friday night at the Prudential Center, fans took center stage as the Liberty celebrated Fan Appreciation Night. As they filed in, each received a Liberty t-shirt courtesy of Chase. Included in the night's festivities was a 9/11 tribute where players and public service officers took to the court to unfurl a 60x30 American flag to commemorate all of those that lost their lives on that fateful morning ten years ago, while everyone in the arena paused for a moment of silence.
After the emotional ceremony, it was on to the starting line-ups, which featured five lucky fans joining Plenette Pierson, Kia Vaughn, Leilani Mitchell, Nicole Powell, and Cappie Pondexter off the bench and onto the court...even getting to share a dance move or two with Maddie and getting an up-close look at Essence Carson getting everyone fired up in the pre-tip huddle.
Fans were awarded with a tremendous game against the Indiana Fever as New York defeated the #1 team in the East 83-75 with five players scoring in double digits in the final regular season home game of the season.
On Saturday, it was on to the next one.
Two buses filled with more than 100 New York fans took to the highway, traveling up 95 North, en route to Foxwoods Resort and Casino- the Liberty's proud presenting sponsor - for a weekend celebrating Liberty basketball, including a Legends Brunch and game vs the Connecticut Sun.
The Legends Brunch was an intimate gathering of a loyal contingent of Liberty supporters who were not only treated to a great pre-game meal but also appearances by Kym Hampton, Sue Wicks, and Ashley Battle.
Hampton, Wicks, and Battle spoke to the crowd about passion, commitment, teamwork, and living the game by bringing those values to life.
It was a special opportunity for fans to get to hear some of their favorite players speak candidly about what it takes to succeed on the court and in life.
Hampton, an entertainer at heart, first serenaded the crowd with an acapella rendition of "Our Love is Here to Stay," - basketball is clearly not Kym's only passion. She told the fans that with passion, we can do anything. To love what you do, and to be passionate about your craft, is to truly honor one's talents. She thanked the fans for their passion to the New York Liberty, and for the love they have shown not only herself but most importantly, the organization.
Wicks was up next and gave a heartfelt, retrospective talk about commitment. She recalled back when the league started and how dedicated the team was to one another and to growing the sport. Wicks remembers how hard she and her teammates played not only in games but in practice every single day, never wanting to let another teammate or coach down. The Ring of Honor Inductee commended the fans for their commitment to the team, not only this season but for the last fifteen years. In an especially emotional moment for Wicks, she spoke about being moved by the fan that brought a partner's ashes to a game or of the male fans that support the league and love these women for their tremendous talents.
Ashley Battle finished with a few words on teamwork. A 3-time national champion at the University of Connecticut, Battle brought along her championship rings. Putting her hand up with all the hardware, she told the crowd that this is what teamwork can get you. She followed by saying that she is looking forward to seeing the Liberty get their first ring, hopefully this season. Battle explained that teamwork means sometimes having to put aside your own needs/wants for the betterment of the team. And it's not just in basketball that she finds herself a part of a team, calling she and her mother "the dynamic duo." Battle's relationship with her mother has mirrored her relationship with many of her teammates through the years, and she reminded the fans that teamwork applies to all aspects of their life, not just sport.
Hampton, Wicks, and Battle reminded all of us in attendance what the Liberty's motto, "Live the Game," is all about. With passion, commitment, and teamwork, players, coaches, and fans are reminded that anything is possible...including a WNBA Championship.
Catch the Liberty begin their quest for the team's 1st WNBA Championship when they take on the Indiana Fever in the Eastern Conference Semifinals beginning this Thursday with Game 1 in Indiana.