The Liberty will welcome back two major contributors on Wednesday night, one of whom will make her season debut.
For the first time this season, the New York Liberty will enter a game with full reinforcements.
The team announced on Tuesday afternoon that guard Epiphany Prince (concussion) will make her season debut tomorrow night against the Las Vegas Aces (7:00 PM, MSG+), while center Kiah Stokes (sore foot) will return from a three-game absence.
Prince, 30, averaged 12 points in 28 games with the Liberty last season, her third campaign with the team. Stokes last played on June 2 at Indiana, earning 12 rebounds in an 87-81 overtime victory.
This will mark the first time the Liberty (3-4) will have a fully healthy roster to work with, as the team has dealt with injuries all season. In addition to Prince and Stokes, guards Sugar Rodgers and Brittany Boyd have missed time, with Boyd’s torn Achilles limiting her to just two games last season.
Despite the limited help, the Liberty, owners of the best record in the Eastern Conference in each of the past three seasons, have been competitive in every game so far, their first seven being decided by a combined 30 points.
“It’s something that we need to continue to kind of embrace,” Liberty head coach Katie Smith said of the team’s depth following a 78-75 win over Indiana on Sunday at Westchester County Center. “Overall it was really good to see other people be aggressive and shoot the ball well. Boyd played well and really pushed the tempo. I thought a lot of people made a lot of contributions.”
Sunday’s victory was a true team effort, as the Liberty eeked out a victory over the Fever despite an off night from superstar forward Tina Charles (13 points on 4-of-15 shooting). Rodgers, who missed two games with a knee injury, led New York scoring with 16 off the bench, with reserve rookie guard Kia Nurse adding 10 more. Two other starters, guards Bria Hartley and Shavonte Zellous, also reached double figures, earning 12 and 10 each.
“Sugar shot the ball well. Sugar coming off the bench and hitting those and Nurse hitting a couple in the first half, it definitely helped us out,” said Smith. “I thought Sugar came in and really gave us a spark on the offensive end, and we needed it to really give ourselves a cushion.”
The visit from Laimbeer, a former NBA All-Star whose 92 wins rank second in team history behind Richie Adubato, and his Aces (1-7) will conclude a four-game homestand for the Liberty.