The New York Liberty will debut at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday, May 14, kicking off the 2021 regular season schedule at 7 p.m. that night against the Indiana Fever.
After playing in three different arenas over the last decade — Madison Square Garden, the Prudential Center in Newark and most recently the Westchester County Center in White Plains as well as the Bradenton, Florida, “wubble” last season — the Liberty will celebrate the organization’s 25th anniversary by making Flatbush and Atlantic their permanent home.
Joe Tsai promised to move the Liberty to Brooklyn when he purchased the team from James Dolan and MSG in January of 2019, but the team was contractually committed to Westchester for 2019 and the pandemic forced the WNBA to move the season to IMG Academy in Bradenton last year.
New York’s schedule features 32 total games including 16 home games to be played at Barclays. The Liberty haven’t had a winning season since 2017 and went 2-20 last year, but hope the additions of Natasha Howard, the WNBA Defensive Player of the Year in 2019, and Betnijah Laney, the WNBA Most Improved Player in 2020, plus a healthy Sabrina Ionescu, the WNBA first overall draft pick in 2020, will lead them back to the playoffs this year.
The team will be picking sixth, 17th, 25th and 29th in Thursday night’s WNBA Draft on ESPN. The draft begins at 7:30.
The Liberty’s schedule opens with two consecutive games against the Fever, the home opener on May 14, followed by a road contest in Indianapolis on May 16. New York will return to Brooklyn to take on the Minnesota Lynx on May 18. The Liberty will then hit the road for a two-game tilt against the Washington Mystics and Chicago Sky on May 21 and 23.
New York will have its longest road trip — five games — versus the Connecticut Sun, Phoenix Mercury, Las Vegas Aces (two games) and Los Angeles Sparks, from June 5 through 20.
Following the 2021 Tokyo Olympics — which will feature several Liberty players— New York’s schedule is highlighted by a five-game homestand from August 18-27, the team’s longest of the season. During this stretch, New York will host Seattle (two games), Los Angeles, and Phoenix (two games).
The Liberty will conclude regular season play in Brooklyn versus the Washington Mystics on September 17.
So much of the Liberty’s success will depend on Ionescu who was seen as a generational player when drafted. As SB Nation’s Swish Appeal wrote this week...
The fact that she scored 33 points in just her second WNBA game before suffering a season-ending injury in her third bodes well. By trading away this year’s No. 1 pick, the Liberty have signaled that they are ready to try and win now with veterans surrounding Ionescu instead of trying to build a young core for the future that features two No. 1 draft picks.
The announcement didn’t provide details on tickets —how many will be available within health and safety protocols and at what price. The Liberty stated, “Information on fan attendance during the 2021 WNBA season will be provided by individual teams in conjunction with league and federal, state and local health and safety protocols.”
The New York Liberty’s regional and national television schedules are forthcoming will be forthcoming as well. YES Network is the Liberty’s regional broadcaster. To access the Liberty’s full 2021 schedule, please visit here.