Depth is a wonderful, wonderful thing. It ensures that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, you don’t have to put too much on one person’s shoulders, and a balanced workload ensures everyone stays sharp. When everyone gets to contribute, it keeps everyone involved and fresh for the long haul that is the regular season. As the New York Liberty enter into the 2023 season, they’ve got one more fun piece to add to their puzzle.
In 2022, the Liberty took Nyara Sabally fifth in the WNBA Draft. Coming from the University of Oregon, Sabally will bring size, speed, agility, and a deft scoring touch from the post position. Over at Swish Appeal, Edwin Garcia wrote about Sabally and said:
Sabally has a world of potential. She’s the kind of big that can raise a team’s ceiling with her post-up moves, rim protection and rebounding ability. Her list of accolades at Oregon is long. She was All Pac-12 in back-to-back seasons and finished sixth in the conference in scoring (15.4 points per game) and third in rebounding with 7.8 boards per game. This year Oregon was disappointing in the tournament, losing in the first round to Belmont, but the impact Sabally made on the team was undeniable. She will be missed in Oregon, and there is a reason she was drafted fifth overall, even with injury concerns.
Ultimately, those injury concerns turned out to be prescient as Sabally missed the 2022 season as she recovered from her knee injury and Osteochondral Autograft Transplantation (OCA) she underwent in May of ‘22. When Sabally spoke with the media after the Draft, she was asked about what she’s looking to bring to the league on and off the court:
“I’m just looking to inspire young girls. One thing I’m really big about is inspiring the younger generation and show that you can fight through adversity. At the end of the day, if you stick with what you love and what you believe in, you’re gonna be great. So that’s what I wanna bring to the league, just this sense of inspiration, heart, and grit.”
At the team’s exit interviews following the conclusion of the season, Betnijah Laney mentioned Sabally and said:
“We’ll have Nyara coming back healthy next season, so that’ll be good. A big body, somebody who can be physical alongside Stef [Dolson] and Han [Xu] and be able to produce offensively on the other end.”
And on Tuesday, it was made official as the team announced they signed Sabally to a contract. She will join a star studded Liberty frontcourt that will feature:
Rookies always have it tough adjusting to the pro game, and rookie bigs in particular tend to face even more difficult challenges. They have to anchor the interior defense, be able to handle themselves when switched on to perimeter players, and adjust to the style of play in the pros as compared to college. Sabally joining this Liberty team will allow her the opportunity to grow at her own pace and not have a lot of pressure on her shoulders as she begins her WNBA journey.
As she recovered from her injury, Sabally stayed close to the game. She took a job as an assistant coach at Sacramento State University. How’s it been going so far for the Hornets? Well...
Not a bad first year at all!
With Sabally coming to the Liberty, New York will have an even more formidable frontcourt rotation. Their bigs can fill a variety of roles and do a lot on the court. As the Liberty continue to prepare for the season, they have a lot of great players in tow. The team has an exciting mix of vets and youngsters and they’re all working towards the goal of capturing the Liberty’s first championship. Exciting times ahead for basketball in New York City.