January 28, 2021
Betnijah Laney to sign with the Liberty
2020's most improved player is headed to New York
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One of the best two-way wings in the WNBA free agent market is headed to New York. Multiple league sources confirmed to The Next that the Liberty have agreed to terms with free agent Betnijah Laney, 2020’s Most Improved Player and a significant addition to the New York talent base.
The process of wooing Laney included the direct efforts of Joe Tsai, with the organization emphasizing a change in lifestyle that would come with a return to the northeast for the Rutgers product.
The multi-year deal ensures that Laney, along with last year’s number one pick Sabrina Ionescu, are part of what New York sees as an opportunity to make a dramatic leap forward after last season’s 2-20 campaign.
Laney, 27, spent time in Connecticut, Chicago and Indiana as a defense-first wing. But under Atlanta head coach Nicki Collen, she blossomed into a true two-way contributor, scoring 17.2 points per game on 48.1 percent shooting from the field in 2020, including 40.5 percent from three.
The Rutgers alumna will find a home on a team that wants to establish itself as a team of not only shooters but shot makers, something that GM Jonathan Kolb stressed in a pregame presser before New York’s final game 2020 regular-season game against the Dallas Wings. In 2020, Laney made a lot of shots, and head coach Walt Hopkins will expect her to do the same in 2021.
Written by Jackie Powell
Jackie Powell covers the New York Liberty and runs social media and engagement strategy for The Next. She also covers women's basketball for Bleacher Report and her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and SLAM. She also self identifies as a Lady Gaga stan, is a connoisseur of pop music and is a mental health advocate.