WHITE PLAINS, N.Y.- Today, the New York Liberty wrapped up their 2018 home campaign with a 86-77 loss to the Atlanta Dream at the Westchester County Center. The Liberty moved from the World’s Most Famous arena, Madison Square Garden, to the arena in White Plains at the beginning of this season. During her post-game press conference today, I asked Liberty Head Coach Katie Smith about playing in White Plains as opposed to Midtown Manhattan. She explained: “The Westchester County Center, the folks here did an amazing job. They were great to work with…. Our fans: those that could make make it when they could, great. I think we [made] some new fans, [too]. I thought it was, for everything that was going on: a good thing.”
As a tribute to them, the Liberty chose the theme of today’s game to be: fan appreciation. Upon entering the arena, every fan was treated to a free Liberty t-shirt and a free rally towel. Season ticket holders also received a cell phone holder with their season ticket’s likeness on it, down to their seat number. Certainly these giveaways will have to do since the Liberty were without the gift of a winning season this year. After today’s game, the Liberty are 7-23 (4-13 at home) and are on a nine-game losing streak. For the past two years, they were bounced out of the playoffs in the first round.
Announced Saturday, Angel McCoughtry (Atlanta Dream All-Star) will miss the rest of the season due to torn ligaments in her left knee. This is the playoff-bound Dream’s second game without her coming off a win last night against the Los Angeles Sparks. In the back-to-back contests, Atlanta was victorious.
In White Plains, today was all about the loyal Liberty fans, though. After the game, as a thank you, Liberty players met with and took photos with their season ticket holders. “I just really want to thank all of the fans that have supported us!” Rebecca Allen (16 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists today) told me after the game.
Although this hasn’t been the season anyone drew up for the Liberty, Smith has a message to the fans: “We love them. They are so loyal, they love this league, they love this team. We appreciate them so much. They’ve gone through a lot as well this season, with the transition. Again, we are so thankful that they’ve been so supportive all year. They’ve been rowdy, they’ve been right there with us. Our league is very, very special when it comes to our fans and our relationship with our fans. So, we’re pumped that they’ve been there through thick and thin with us and it means a lot.”
Perhaps next year, the Liberty, settled in their new home, could reward the Liberty Loyals with a playoff run. For now, New York heads to the West Coast to wrap up their 2018 season.