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Preview : New York City FC vs Houston Dynamo 5/25

New York City FC Celebrating Photo by: Stacy Podelski

Currently sitting in Second Place in the Major League Soccer Standings New York City FC (7-2-3 Overall Record) looks to continue their strong play with a road trip to Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium.

On the road NYCFC holds a 2-2-3 record , with two of the three meetings between these clubs have resulted in 1-1 draws, and the other match was a New York City FC 2-0 victory. All three matches have produced two goals each.

The Boys in Blue have a ton of momentum as the last game they had at Yankee Stadium resulted in a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids. Leading the way on the offense for NYCFC has been Captain David Villa who has seven goals. Jesus Medina has five assists and Yangel Herrera has 21 shots to round out some of the offensive scoring leaders.

Meanwhile, the Houston Dynamo enters into the match with an overall record of 4-3-3 a 3-2-0 record at home and a 1-3-3 record on the road.  Leading the way for the Dynamo has been Alberth Elis leads Houston with six goals, Romell Quioto has four assists and Mauro Manotas has 29 shots.

New York City FC has two players heading to the World Cup play as Ronald Matarrita and Rodney Wallace received the call to the preliminary Costa Rican World Cup squad. The tournament, La Sele is slated to take on Serbia on June 17 (8 AM ET), Brazil on June 22 (8 AM ET), and Switzerland on June 27 (2 PM ET) to determine if they can make it to consecutive knockout rounds and better their previous best of a last 8 finish in Brazil just four years ago.

Matarrita and Wallace have been on an amazing journey together as teammates and friends, through ups and downs and now the ultimate high of being able to play on the Costa Rican World Cup Squad.

The duo spoke about their experiences which fans can check out by watching the following videos seen below:

Ronald Matarrita

Rodney Wallace

1495 Sports is also proud to bring the following video featuring New York City FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira

The match between New York City FC and the Houston Dynamo is set to take place at 8:55 p.m. with the broadcast to be aired on the UniMas Network. Fans can also check out the match on the WNYE and WQBU radio networks. The Boys in Blue will next be at home at Yankee Stadium, where they are an amazing 5-0-0, on June 2 to take on the Orlando City SC for a match scheduled at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on New York City FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.nycfc.com

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Nico Hernandez captures IBA flyweight World title in 5th professional fight

History was made this past Saturday night on the “SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes” pay-per-view card, when 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and local hero, Nico Hernandez, knocked out Hungarian challenger Szilveszter “The Silent Assassin” Kanalas in the opening round to capture the vacant International Boxing Association (IBA) Flyweight World Championship in only his fifth professional fight, at Kansas Star Arena in Mulvane, Kansas.
 
In the first world title fight ever held in Kansas, Hernandez (5-0, 4 KOs) overwhelmed Kanalas (14-7, 9 KOs), the former World Boxing Federation (WBF) super flyweight world champion, to become the youngest (22) IBA world champion ever, as well as setting the record for the fewest pro fights needied to become IBA world titlist.
 
SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes was launched as Super Channel’s new live boxing series, SUPERBOX LIVE, in association with KO Night Boxing LLC, and it aired live exclusively in Canada on Super Channel.
 
Integrated Sports Media distributed “SUPERBOX LIVE: High Stakes” in the United States on cable, satellite and digital pay-per-view as it was live-streamed worldwide on FITE.TV app and website (excluding Canada).
 
Hernandez was aggressive from the opening bell, pounding Kanalas’ head and body. A Hernandez left hook to the body really hurt Kanalas, who went down from a right that followed the vicious liver shot. Kanalas beat Hall of Fame Steve Smoger‘s count, and it was only a matter of time before Hernandez would end the fight. It came soon, right after another body-and-head combination put the over-matched Hungarian on the mat for the second and final time.
 
“A lot of people underestimate my power,” Hernandez said after the fight. “I believe that once he felt my power, I don’t think he wanted it anymore. I felt like I took his heart away. I was patient, I wanted it to go a few rounds to see what he had, but I took his heart away. I can’t really be disappointed because I am a world champion now.”
 
“Nico was explosive Saturday night and he showed killer instinct,” promoter John Andersen commented. “He was going to box, but I think he smelled fear, and Nico got into Kanalas’ head. He sensed it and jumped on him.”
 
Before he left the ring, Hernandez took the microphone in the center of the ring and called out three-time Olympian and two-time Olympic bronze medalist, “Irish” Paddy Barnes (5-0, 1 KO), who was the favored to win a gold medal in the flyweight division at the 2016 Olympics. He was eliminated in the round of 16 and Hernandez took home the bronze medal. “There’s a bronze medalist from (Northern) Ireland, Paddy Barnes, and that’s who I’d really love to fight.”
 
“I think that’s a fight we should start a conversation about,” Andersen remarked. “It’s not line Barnes is 21 (he’s 31) and I don’t know of a lot of 30 or older flyweights. It makes a lot of sense and can be a big fight. They’re both Olympic bronze medalist, already fought in scheduled 10 and 12 round fights, and have belts. (Barnes is the WBO Intercontinental flyweight champ). Nico needs to step up in terms of competition, too. I think they should get in the ring and then we can see what happens.
 
“If they don’t want to make this fight right away, maybe we can build it up by putting them on the same card, and then fight next year. This fight makes a lot of sense for both fighters and Nico has already said he wants to fight Barnes.”
Hernandez joined reigning IBA world champions, light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev and junior middleweight Mark DeLuca, as well as past IBA world champions such as Hall of Famers Oscar de la Hoya, George Foreman, Roberto Duran and Arturo Gatti, in addition to stars Roy Jones, Jr., Bernard Hopkins, Shane Mosely, James Toney, Mikkel Kessler, Eric Morales, Diego Corrales, Jose Luis Castillo, Glen Johnson and Antonio Tarver.
 
2011 Russia Junior Championships gold medalist Andrey Afonin (6-0, 3 KOs) kept his undefeated record in tact when Pedro “El Reguilete” Rodriguez (23-4, 19 KOs), the Cuban native and former World Boxing Association (WBA) Fedalatin cruiserweight champion, was unable to answer the bell in the third round of the co-featured event.
 
Unbeaten Ukrainian heavyweight Oleksandr Teslenko (13-0, 11 KOs), promoted by DiBella Entertainment and fighting out of Toronto, stopped Terrance “Big Jim” Marbra (9-6, 7 KOs) in the second round.
 
Undefeated Washington featherweight Victor Morales, Jr. (9-0, 5 KOs) was too much for David Berna (15-4, 14 KOs), of Hungary, who complained of an elbow injury and lost by way of a second-round technical knockout, in the televised opener.
 
In the television swing bout, which was held prior to the main event, popular Wichita junior welterweight Jeff Strum (3-0, 2 KOs) kept the train rollin’ with a second-round knockout of Nigeria-native Archie Weah (2-11).
 
In the most competitive fight of the night, as well as the lone match that went the complete distance, St. Louis cruiserweight Leroy Jones (3-3, 2 KOs) won a four-round unanimous decision over Kansas City, KS favorite Chris Harris (2-3-2, 2 KOs).
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Antonio “The Magic Man” Tarver Credits USA Boxing for giving him Structure that carried him to top

Antonio “The Magic Man” Tarver. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

Future Hall of Famer Antonio “The Magic Man” Tarver (31-6-1, 1 NC, 22 KOs) has just about done it all as a boxer having been an Olympic medal winner and world champion as an amateur, along with capturing five major light heavyweight world titles as a professional, as well as a pair of The Ring magazine’s top honors, and four other world championships in two different divisions.
“I credit USA Boxing for giving me structure for the first time in my life,” Tarver explained. “Everything was scheduled; curfew, eating, training, sleep….everything! I then understood that I had to be accountable for everything I did. I had talent, but I wasn’t structured, and that was bigger than me. I had to adjust to authority. My determination took off, giving me support I never had before. I went on to make speaking engagements and get sponsors. I broke barriers. I’ve been the best at every level that I fought at in the world.”
Tarver was a highly decorated amateur who had an amazing 158-12 record. He is the only boxer to capture gold medals at World Amateur Championships, U.S. National Championships and Pan-American Games in the same year (1995). The Orlando, Florida-born southpaw won a bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, losing in the quarterfinals to future world champion Vassiliy Jirov, who Tarver had defeated in the semifinals of the 1995 World Amateur Championships. Tarver also won top honors at the 1994 National Golden Gloves Tournament and 1995 World Championships Challenge.
“I went on a winning roll in 1995 and went into the Olympics in rare form,” Tarver said. “And that’s why I was favored to win a gold medal. I was hitting him (Jirov), the same guy I’d beaten in the World Championships, but no points were registering for me. I had a good second round, but I was down three points, so I threw my game plan away in the third round. I felt I had to do more and got away from my style: counter punching, not getting hit, and being patient. I thought I had won and so did a lot of people. I made up for that, though, with a gold-medal professional career.
“I had been faced with a decision about going pro after I was beaten in the ’92 Olympic Trials. I decided to stay in the amateurs, despite not having any guarantees about making the 1996 U.S. Olympic Team. I sacrificed four years of my pro career, which is why I turned pro at a relatively late age (27). I was determined when I found out the 1996 Olympics were in Atlanta. I think I made the right decision and I have no regrets.
“I had always dreamed of going to the Olympics. I saw Roy Jones, Jr – we first fought each other at 13 – get robbed of gold. I was watching that on television, jumped up, and knew where I was heading: The Olympics! We both suffered horrible decisions in the Olympics and I knew then that our careers would be parallel.
Tarver made his pro debut February 18, 1997 in Philadelphia, stopping Joaquin Garcia(4-0) in the second round.
“I was an Olympic bronze medal winner but when I first turned pro,” Tarver added, “I didn’t have a promoter or manager. Nobody was willing to take a chance on me until I was 4-0, when I signed by first contract with Russell Peltz. I felt nobody could beat me.”
Nobody was able to beat Tarver, at least until his 17th pro fight, when Eric Harding defeated Tarver by way of a 12-round unanimous decision.
Two years later, Tarver embarked on a 12-fight murderer’s row stretch during the next seven years, arguably establishing him as the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It all started with a successful rematch with Harding (21-1-1) in Indianapolis, when Tarver dropped Harding in the fourth round, plus twice more in the fifth, on his way to a fifth-round technical knockout to avenge his lone pro loss to that date.

Next up for Tarver was a showdown with 44-3 Montell Griffin for the WBC and IBF 175-pound division titles, which were vacated by Roy Jones Jr., April 26, 2003 at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut. In his first world title shot as a pro, Tarver pitched a complete shutout, decking Griffin in the first and last rounds to shut out his opponent by scores of 120-103 from all three judges.
Seven months later, however, Tarver lost a controversial 12-round majority decision and his WBC crown (he was stripped of his IBF belt) to WBA Super and IBO champion Jones in Las Vegas. The following May at the venue, Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, though, Tarver became the first to knockout Jones, putting him to sleep in the second round.
Tarver then became a mainstream celebrity, appearing on late-night shows and covers of The Ring magazine and KO Magazine, and co-hosting an ESPN Friday Night Fightstelecast.
“I was robbed in my first fight with Roy,” Tarver insisted. “They called my knockout of Roy the greatest upset in light heavyweight history. Why didn’t they see me coming? I had beaten everybody ranked ahead of me. Roy was the pound-for-pound king, but he knew. I may not be the fastest, the quickest, or the strongest, but I doubt that there’s ever been a pro fighter to enter the ring with a higher IQ than me. Even at my age, I still feel that way today.”
The WBC stripped Tarver of his title in 2004 for fighting IBF champion Glen Johnson(41-9-2) instead of the WBC mandatory challenger. Johnson, ironically, was stripped of his IBF title for the same reason right before his fight in Los Angeles with Tarver. Tarver and Johnson fought for The Ring and IBO titles and Johnson won a 12-round split decision.
In their rematch six months later in Memphis, Tarver won a unanimous 12-round decision over Johnson to capture the IBO strap. Tarver completed his trilogy with Jones, retaining his IBO title with a unanimous 12-round decision (117-111, 116-112, 116-112).
Tarver lost a 12-round decision June 10, 2006 in Atlantic City to Bernard Hopkins for the IBO championship, which was soon vacated and recaptured by Tarver with a 12-round majority decision over Elvir Muriqi (34-3).
Tarver traveled to Australia in 2011 to challenge IBO cruiserweight champion and local hero Danny Green, who retired after nine rounds, as Tarver added another title belt to his display case.
In December of 2013 in Temecula, California, Tarver knocked out Jonathon Banks (29-2-1) in the seventh round, and Tarver’s last fight was a 12-round split decision draw with former world champion (28-7) in Newark, New Jersey.
In 2006, Tarver starred as Mason “The Line” Dixon, the heavyweight champion in the film, Rocky Balboa.
Tarver, as he marches towards his planned history-making performance by becoming the oldest heavyweight world champion of all-time, also has served as a color commentator in boxing for Spike TV and Showtime.
Today, at the age of 49, Tarver is still technically active, and he also trains his son and undefeated middleweight prospect, Antonio Tarver, Jr. (5-0 (4 KOs), where they live in Tampa, Florida.
“I was older than the rest of the boxers on the U.S. Olympic Team and the U.S. National Team,” Tarver remarked. “What a team! Guys like Diego Corrales and Zab Judah didn’t make that Olympic Team. I gave Floyd Mayweather, Jr. his first moniker, ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’, until he changed it years later to ‘Money’. We had a bond on that Olympic team with Floyd, Fernando Vargas, David Reid, Zarim Raheem and the others.”
Although at the age of 49 he is still an active fighter, Tarver occassionally does some color commentating and he trains pro and amateur boxers at a gym in Tampa, Florida. “I’m not retired as a fighter,” Tarver commented. “I started a program, ‘Train with The Champ’, and it includes room rent and training. I like to say it’s an AirB&B for boxing. I train my son (5-0 middleweight Antonio Tarver, Jr. there. I learned a lot from my early days, training in Orlando with my coach, Lou Harris, and I reunited with Jimmy Williams, who is 90 now, training my son together in Tampa.
Tarver also is an advocate of the relatively new “USA Boxing Alumni Association,” which was created to champion a lifelong, mutually beneficial relations between USA Boxing and its alumni, –boxers, officials, coaches and boxing fans — the Alumni Association connects generations of champions, inspiring and giving back to USA Boxing’s future boxing champions, in and out of the ring.
“I’m going online to join,” Tarver said. “I’m looking forward to attending an Alumni Association meeting, June 24-30 during the Junior Olympics in Charleston, West Virginia.
Everything that goes around, comes around, in USA Boxing. Just ask future Hall of Fame candidate Antonio Tarver.
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Three Liberty Players End in Double-Figures But Fall to Chicago in Opener, 80-76

Tina Charles. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

The New York Liberty played a tightly contested match with host Chicago Sky. Down the stretch, a pair of momentous sequences for the Sky in response to a Liberty scoring drought put the game in the opposition’s favor, 80-76. Tina Charles provided a team-high 19 points on 40-percent shooting.

 

Head coach Katie Smith began. “We’ve got to hit shots. They hit shots, and we didn’t. That was honestly the biggest thing. We’ve got to make them more uncomfortable, but they shot at 46-percent, almost 47-percent and we shot at like 37-percent. So again, we’ve got to take good shots and then make them.”

 

Both clubs battled closely, with New York’s (0-1) largest lead capped at five and Chicago’s (2-0) advantage at eight points. Moreover, the two teams swapped leads eight times and played to seven ties including the game’s final deadlocked score, 62-up, at 7:31 of the fourth quarter.

 

The game’s leading scorer, Chicago’s Allie Quigley, credited the tie converting two tries at the stripe prior to a three-point make by Diamond DeShields less than a minute later. Amanda Zahui B. surged the Liberty on a putback lay-in and a triple to leave all but one point of their deficit, 68-67. Quigley ended with 22 points.

 

Charles mentioned. “With myself, I’m not the only one that brings energy to the team. I think everyone did. Especially off the bench. I think Amanda did a great job establishing herself down there.”

 

Zahui B.’s 15 points off the bench marked the highest point total for the center through last season. Her production was two points shy of her career-high 17 points registered against Minnesota on June 29, 2016. She also contributed seven boards.

 

From that point to about the game’s clutch time, New York continued to contain Chicago’s control to no more than three points. However, Cheyenne Parker’s reverse finish at 2:03 pushed its lead to five as part of a 4-3 run to help settle the final.

 

Rookie Kia Nurse recorded 17 points in her first professional outing to go along with three assists, two rebounds and two steals while committing just one turnover in 28:43 minutes as a reserve. Her point total was the most by a Canadian WNBA player in their debut since Stacey Dales scored 23 points for Washington in 2002. Nurse also tied Dales for most three-pointers in her first game.

 

Nurse stated. “I think I was excited to play, to finally get one under my belt. But, I think I’ve been trying to, within practice, to work on the confidence, make sure my teammates can be confident in me, and earn a sense of trust there. So, they helped me out through the whole entire thing making sure I was ready to go.”

 

Charles went 8-of-20 from the floor, 1-of-4 from distance and 2-of-3 at the line en route to her team-high 19 points. She also grabbed four rebounds and two steals.

 

Charles added. “The next game we play is Minnesota. I know each of those individuals on that team. They’ve got Tanisha Wright who’s a great defender. It’s going to be a harder game. We’ve got to be more aggressive. We’ve got to take ownership of our mistakes and what we do. That’s just the way we have to go out and play moving forward.”

 

Minnesota visits the Westchester County Center, Friday, May 25. The Liberty and Lynx square off at 7:30 p.m. (ET).

For more information on the New York Liberty fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://liberty.wnba.com

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Sky Blue FC Edged by Top-Ranked Courage at Yurcak Field

Carli Lloyd. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

Sky Blue FC (0-5-1, 1 point) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, suffering a 2-1 loss to the unbeaten North Carolina Courage (7-0-2, 23 points) at Yurcak Field. Scoring the lone tally for Sky Blue FC was Carli Lloyd, who blasted a rocket into the right upper 90 in second half stoppage time. Also in attendance for the match was Eric LeGrand, who served as the Sky Blue FC honorary captain.

“We started pretty well in the first half and created some dangerous opportunities,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “North Carolina is a team that is so good in transition, and they will punish you when you give the ball away. The two goals they scored were preventable, but they were able to capitalize on the situations. I do feel that we deserved a point, and I am very proud of the effort that our players gave tonight.”

Sky Blue FC nearly opened its account on a series that took place in the 6th minute. On the sequence, Lloyd carried possession past the midfield before laying off a ball for Shea Groom as she entered the penalty area. Groom then touched around a defender before firing a shot that forced a diving save by North Carolina netminder Katelyn Rowland, which resulted in a Sky Blue FC corner kick. On the ensuing corner, Amanda Frisbie centered a ball that Lloyd headed towards the target before Katie Johnson struck an attempt just high of the mark.

In the 16th minute, the Courage broke the deadlock on a play that saw Debinha gain possession in the midfield before feeding Jessica McDonald down the right flank. She then sent a ball just ahead of the Sky Blue FC back line that found Crystal Dunn, who tapped it into the goal to make it a 1-0 contest.

North Carolina stretched its advantage to a pair of scores in the 27th minute, as Dunn played Debinha into the box. Debinha quickly looked to center, creating a loose ball situation in front of the Sky Blue FC goal. Unfortunately for the host side, Sam Mewis was there to finish and make it a 2-0 match.

In the 72nd minute, Sky Blue FC earned a penalty kick opportunity after Lloyd was taken down inside the box. The New Jersey native then stepped over the ensuing try, but Rowland chose correctly to deny the attempt with a diving save to her right. Raquel Rodriguez was there to strike the rebound, but Rowland again made the save to keep the ball clear of the net.

Sky Blue FC did get on the board in the fourth minute of stoppage after being awarded a free kick chance on top of the 18. Rodriguez initially put the ball into play before Sarah Killion laid it off for Lloyd, who hammered an absolute screamer of a shot that ripped through the right upper 90. The emphatic blast was the first of the year for the Sky Blue FC captain.

The conversion brought the home team within a single tally, but the final whistle was blown right after the goal to leave a final 2-1 result on the scoreboard.

Sky Blue FC now hits the road for a Wednesday road pairing with the Washington Spirit, and the team returns home to Yurcak Field to host Seattle Reign FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff next Saturday, May 26. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).

For more information on Sky Blue FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://www.skybluefc.com/

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New York City FC pours in the goals in 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids

Sign celebrating David Villa’s 400th goals for club and country at Yankee Stadium. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

With the rain pelting the Yankee Stadium pitch the New York City Football Club pelted the goal with a 4-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids in Major League Soccer action on Saturday, May 19.

Prior to the start of the match NYCFC as well as honored guests celebrated David Villa, by naming the day in honor of the captain thanks to his remarkable 400th goal for Club and Country against San Jose.

Normally most players shrink when it comes time for days that honor themselves, David Villa is no ordinary player though, as he was able to net his 403 and 404th goals at the 22 mark and 74 mark. Helping David shine on his special day was the 3-4-3 formation that was set out by Skipper Patrick Vieira , who brought in Ronald Matarrita, Ebenezer Ofori and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi into the starting rotation.

Some beautiful passing helped Villa to open up the scoring at the 22 mark netted a sidefooted goal from pass from Maxi Moralez . The score remained that way as New York City FC headed into the locker room at the half.

New York City FC continued their dominant play in the Second Half, as Jo Inge Berget had a wicked shot denied by Rapids keeper Tim Howard, an aggressive Matarrita celebrated his first goal of the season; as well as his selection to the World Cup call-up with a beautiful header at the 49 mark.

Maxi Moralez made the score 3-0, netting his fifth goal of the year from the edge of the area, before Villa rounded out the scoring with his second of the game (#404 for Club and Country).

The Boys in Blue have been undefeated so far in five games at Yankee Stadium, as the team is currently in Second Place in the MLS Eastern Conference Standings behind the Atlanta United.

New York City FC travels to Houston to the Dynamo at the BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night. We’re back in the Bronx on June 2 when Orlando City provide the opposition for Pride Day

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Post Match Video:

Featuring:

Head Coach Patrick Vieira

 

For more information on New York City FC fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

https://www.nycfc.com

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New York Liberty Head Coach Katie Smith Talks End of Training Camp, Roster, Season Opener and More

 

Sugar Rodgers. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

New York Liberty First-year head coach Katie Smith, and soon to be a 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, announced her first official roster Thursday evening. The former assistant and associate head coach for the Liberty will return 10 players while coaching two additions for the first time. With Smith wrapping up her first training camp at the helm, the two-time champion hopes to use the foundation of the discipline instilled in practice, veteran leadership and continuity to push New York to new heights.

 

The Liberty return a bulk of its roster from a season ago headlined by Tina Charles. The centerpiece is coming off of her eighth season in the league where she was named First Team All-WNBA and runner-up in the WNBA Most Valuable Player race.

 

Smith began. “Tina is obviously an elite basketball player and on top of that is great person. It is nice to rely on her and have her as that go-to person. With her skill-level and ability, she is going to demand a lot of attention and it is great to have someone you can rely on in tough situations. With [Shavonte] Zellous and Marissa [Coleman] also having championship experience, having that veteran leadership at the core is crucial.”

 

Kia Nurse (2018 first-round pick, 10th overall) is the lone rookie on the squad and she will look to earn minutes against an otherwise experienced backcourt. New York’s guard play also features 2017 Sixth Woman of the Year Sugar Rodgers, Epiphanny Prince, Bria Hartley, Rebecca Allen and Brittany Boyd.

 

For the past two seasons, Rodgers has averaged double-figure point totals draining .380 of her looks from deep. Prince (12.0 pts, 2.89 asts) and Hartley (7.3 pts, 2.05 asts) will compete in their fourth and second respective Liberty seasons. Rebecca Allen contributed 2.8 ppg last year. After being sidelined for a majority of the 2017 season, nursing a left achilles, Boyd looks to re-enter the lineup for the first time in over a year.

 

The trio of Charles, Zellous and Coleman combine for 26 years of experience in the WNBA. Coleman will represent the Liberty for the first time this season, but her versatility and size can massage her transition since the Liberty pride themselves on their quick adjustments and being able to put a variation of lineups onto the hardwood.

 

“Our team is versatile no matter which position you look at. Our guards have size and our bigs can adjust. We can have Coleman at the four or even have Nurse at the one. Or you can run Epiphanny at the one and go small.” Smith continued. “The gamesmanship of what is working, what will cause other teams the most problems at times, and what can help us, are all a part of how we prepare. Everybody is capable because we have a lot of pieces and things we can use to support our lineups.”

 

With the Liberty boasting three-straight 20-win seasons, a playoff run is presumable. But what Smith continues to preach is not so much a playoff push or even a game-by-game mentality but a diligent and detailed approach to performance in practice.

 

Smith stated. “Everybody wants to win a championship but how do you get there? We need to make sure we make the playoffs. Then you use your momentum and make a run. But it is the discipline that is built in practice that we are constantly stressing and putting an emphasis on because that’s how we go about doing business. We need to handle what we need to everyday and in practice, and it’ll translate into big games and big performances for us.”

 

22 total players participated in New York’s training camp which ranged from eight to nine-year veterans, 2018 draft picks, free agents and those monitoring lingering injuries. Furthermore, the crop frequently welcomed returners from their international club teams who faced quick turnarounds integrated immediately to the group.

 

Smith explained. “There’s a constant progression throughout training camp because you’re adding players as you go. You have to reteach, so there’s some continuity but there is also a lot of learning and adjusting that still takes place. Players have to still feel each other out, create chemistry and understand playing with our roster.”

 

Due to international club play, Kia Vaughn has missed the Liberty’s training camp but will soon join Amanda Zahui B. and Kiah Stokes, again. Vaughn put up 5.8 ppg and grabbed 4.9 boards while Zahui B. dropped 3.8 ppg and collected 1.1 rpg. Stokes averaged 4.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg and raised for 1.1 bpg.

 

The Liberty’s first test this season is on Sunday, May 20, as New York faces the Chicago Sky at Wintrust Arena at 7 p.m. (ET).

 

Smith ended. “I want them to go out and play hard. I want them to have confidence. I want us to take care of each other on both ends of the floor. I think we can get what we need to get done if we are locked in, all engaged and have that awareness. There’s going to be a lot of excitement but once we’re in-game, we still need to play with a lot of energy and that competitive spirit from start to finish. No matter who is on the floor, we’re supporting each other.”

For the 2018 home opener at Westchester County Center, the Liberty welcome the defending champion Minnesota Lynx on Friday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m.

 

For more information on the New York Liberty fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

http://liberty.wnba.com