The Liberty got blown out Monday night. The Connecticut Sun beat them by 34 at the Mohegan Sun in a preseason game. None of their stars, not Han Xu (two points on 1-of-4 shooting, not fellow rookie Asia Durr (no points and 0-of-3), not even their established stars Tina Charles (11 points on 5-of-17 shooting) or Kia Nurse (10 points but a -38 plus/minus) played particularly well.
But the Sun were among the league leaders last season and are expected to be this year as well. Jonquel Jones, at 6’6” the Sun center, dominated the 6’9” Han, finishing with 19 points in 19 minutes. Rookies take time to develop and the Liberty is coming off a 7-27 season, their worst ever.
Still, there was good news to report. Han’s debut with the Liberty last Thursday proved a big hit in China. According to the WNBA...
“New York Liberty rookie and China-native Han Xu’s recent WNBA debut generated 1.2 million viewers across Tencent, Youku, Migu and Xigua, and another 6.3 million total video views on social media platforms in China, including behind-the-scenes coverage of the game and an interview with new Liberty owner Joe Tsai.
“Han Xu, the first graduate of the NBA Academy program to be drafted into the NBA or WNBA, made her WNBA debut in an exhibition game at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY on Thursday, May 9 against the Chinese Women’s National Team.”
How big is an audience of 1.2 million? The Nets average about 30,000 per game on YES.
The game also drew 4,155 fans to Barclays Center that could very well become the Liberty’s home court next season, they spend another year at Westchester County Center, a vestige of James Dolan’s ownership. That’s more than twice what the Long Island Nets were able to draw two years ago.
The Liberty play the second of their three preseason games Tuesday vs. the Atlanta Dream at the Mohegan Sun.
- Box Score: Connecticut Sun 100, New York Liberty 66 - WNBA.com
- 2019 Season Preview: New York Liberty - Brian Martin - WNBA.com
- New York Liberty rookie Han Xu’s WNBA debut viewed by millions in China - Cheryl Coward - Hoopsfeed