New York Liberty, WNBA Players Populate World Cup Rosters

New York has long been considered to be a melting pot as a city with diversity. That name also applies to New York’s WNBA franchise known as the New York Liberty, which has seven players participating for the ladies’ World Cup for five different countries.

There are 27 players from Sydney that played in the WNBA and some others, similar to Lauren Jackson, who either had a previous experience or were selected but haven’t played in the league until now.

Prior to the U.S.-China game, Betnijah along with Han Xu exchanged a hug. Both Liberty team members are currently on opposing teams, just a few days since their WNBA season came to an end with an elimination game against Chicago in the first round.

“That’s one of my favorite parts about the New York team, we are so international and we’ve got such great talent from all over the world,” Australian Sami Whitcomb said. “I think that’s a good representation of our fans as well. It’s truly amazing to be here and yet meet your team.”

Laney, as well as Sabrina Ionescu, are with the U.S. Han is playing for China. Bec Allen, as well as Whitcomb, are in Australia as are New York coach Sandy Brondello and spouse Olaf Lange, who lead the team that hosts the tournament. A draftee Sika Kone is on Mali as is her fellow participant Marine Fauthoux plays for France.

“It’s extremely cool to have other teammates in the same room and to compete against one another. It’s a wonderful experience for everyone,” Laney said. “It’s certainly something that’s awesome to have this variety and the ability to unite. It’s not just limited to our fans.”

Whitcomb stated that Whitcomb said that Liberty players discussed the possibility of all traveling to Sydney to play in this year’s World Cup.

“How fun it would be to have so many of us over here and we were all going to see each other,” she stated. “We didn’t know how many people would make the teams, so it’s amazing.”

All teams are staying at the same hotel in the vicinity of the arena. Whitcomb added that the Liberty players have been drinking coffee together in between games.

“It just goes to show we’re very international that’s for sure,” Brondello declared. “To include two players in the USA team is always difficult to break into , but I’m extremely proud of them. They’ve put in so much effort to achieve their goal and the Aussies have a reputation for excellence. however Han is doing an excellent job as well.”

There was a potential eighth Liberty participant in the event, but Marine Johannes got hurt right before the tournament started.

New York isn’t the only WNBA team with a strong presence by Sydney: Seattle has five active players, as well as Jackson. Coach of the Storm, Noelle Quinn, is an assistant for Canada. In addition, the Chicago Sky and Las Vegas Aces have every four players.

The players also are part of a dining area to eat, which gives the players opportunities to socialize with each other outside of the court.

“I’m happy to see my teammates playing in the World Cup,” Han stated. “Before I only had two teammates but now I have a lot of them on different teams and it’s nice to see them around.”

Leave a Comment