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Betnijah Laney talks Team USA, the NY Liberty, and more at Team USA training camp

USA v China: Final - FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images

The WNBA offseason has been a whirlwind. Teams have made major moves in the hopes of making it to the top of the mountain. One team that has been making the most waves has been the New York Liberty.

The Liberty have had an offseason for the ages trading for Jonquel Jones and signing Breanna Stewart and Courtney Vandersloot in free agency. The moves have taken the Liberty from solid to super in the blink of an eye. It’s a new day in NY and one player who will lead the charge in 2023 will be Betnijah Laney.

Laney has been one of the cornerstones for this franchise since she signed as a free agent in 2021. Laney has been the heartbeat of a team that has made back to back playoff appearances and is trending upwards. After playing with the United States Women’s National team in Australia at the FIBA World Cup, Bee is back with Team USA at mini camp in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Last Monday, Bee took some time to chat with the media about camp, the Liberty, and more. Here are her responses:

  • On what the past few weeks has been like watching the news surrounding the Liberty

“I don’t know about y’all, but I am excited! I think we had some really great pickups and I can not wait for the W season to start.”

  • On if the label of “superteam” is fair for the team

“We got some pretty super players, so I’d say it’s fair if you ask me.”

  • On how she’s feeling now that she’s further away from her knee surgery

“I’ve been feeling good. My knees have been great, [I’ve] been able to get some good rest and recovery as well as continue to work on my game and everything. So yeah, I feel good.”

  • On if there’s a difference between the style of play and level of physicality in the WNBA compared to FIBA

“I think they’re both pretty contact heavy, but FIBA definitely was a bit more physical than what I’m used to in the league, but I think I’m naturally a physical player so I don’t mind it.”

  • On where she was when she found out the news of the Liberty’s big signings

“In Japan, I was asleep when the news came out. So I was a bit late to it. I woke up to plenty of text messages, plenty of phone calls, plenty of different things informing me about the news. Different posts on social media. Once I saw [the news], I was excited. It was something we had been talking about, but it wasn’t official yet. So when I woke up and saw it, I was excited.”

  • On what she can apply from her experience on the Team USA roster in 2022 to this training camp

“I think to continue to be myself. Continue to go out, work hard, play hard, and bring everything that I have.”

Indiana Fever v New York Liberty Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images
  • On playing with Sabrina Ionescu here at the Team USA camp

“It’s great to be able to play alongside teammates, both from the W as well as here in USA basketball. We can continue to work on our chemistry to help us prepare for this upcoming season.”

  • On the expectations she has for herself in USA training camp

“I think to just continue my growth. Over the course of my career, I’ve continued to add to my game. So just to continue to grow, continue to come in and work hard, do all the things that I do and what’s required for my team.

  • On the free agency transactions across the WNBA contributing to the league growth and staying in the news cycle year round

“I think we saw how much support we got behind the super team that we have, so I think that’s really great. To be out there to see everyone talking about it, talking about the W in general is really good for us. As far as the other teams go, I’m more so concerned with what we’ve got going on [in New York], but there have definitely been a lot of changes and things happening around the league.”

  • On her excitement to play with her new teammates

“I’m really excited about it. My goal is to win, that’s what I wanna do and to hopefully be able to bring home that championship for New York, and I think that the pieces that we’ve added, they all, aside from JJ, they all have that championship experience, that winning experience and so they’re bringing that culture with them. And even with JJ, she’s been to the Finals so she knows what it takes to get there and to win. I’m just excited for the leadership, the competitiveness, and everything that those three are capable of doing on the court and to do it here in New York.”

  • On how this training camp will help in preparation for the WNBA season as well as making the Olympics roster in 2024

“It puts me in front of the committee. It gives me the opportunity to display all of the things that I’m capable of, so I’m excited to be here.”

  • On the transition of going from underdogs to one of the premier teams in the WNBA

“I think it gives us a great opportunity to reach our ultimate goal. It puts us in a great opportunity to be able to bring home that championship to New York.”

USA v China - FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images
  • On the role she’ll have in helping the new players understand what NY Liberty basketball is about

“I think we all will bring something to it. Even though I’ve been here the longest, it’s still an adjustment for me as well because we’re under different coaches and I didn’t have a long length of time to play under them and know the system. I think we’ll all be bringing our experience to the team and being able to build that chemistry to play together and hopefully win a championship.”

  • On the players being new to the toughness that is associated with New York basketball

“I wouldn’t necessarily say they’re new [to that toughness]. I think that the pieces we’ve added, they’re competitors. They’re great competitors. They get after it and we’ve seen that’s how they were able to go to the Finals. That’s how they were able to win championships and be an intricate part of that. I think that everything we represent as a New York basketball team, I think that they’re bringing that with them. I think that’s why we’ve added them because they complement what we already have going. They understand what it takes to be gritty, to fight, and to win.”

  • On how her personal skill set works with the new players and developing chemistry quickly

“I think to understand what we all do and try to help each other the best way that we can so we can display [our skills]. I think that we all complement each other really well with the different skill sets that we have. So it’s about coming together and putting that effort forth to help each other.”

The Liberty are in tremendous shape heading into the upcoming season, and with Laney leading the way, they will have a chance to bring the chip home to Brooklyn.