May 24, 2023 

Locked on Women’s Basketball: Kayla Thornton is key to New York Liberty WNBA title hopes

Howard and Kayla Thornton chat about her career, what stands out to her and her love for defense

It’s time for another Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast episode. Kayla Thornton, defensive stopper extraordinaire for the New York Liberty, joins Howard Megdal to discuss her career. Everything from her starring days at UTEP, to her years out of the league looking for a way in, to how defending Candace Parker turned her identity into one the league came to embrace. Thornton also explains why she doesn’t prioritize social media and imagines what a championship might feel like with her new team.

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Kayla Thornton talks about a moment that stands out to her when she felt established as a player in the league:

“Yeah, my career is kind of different from a lot of people’s and how I started. When I was with Washington, I got cut twice. Then I had a workout with Dallas, and then that aspired there and I was there, half of my career or almost all my career. And then now I’m in New York. So you know, of course, it is just a blessing; I think just with this game and how our league is evolving, you have to keep involving your game getting better in different areas. You can’t stay content in one area. And I think I’ve just done that over the years, just doing what I do best and not getting out of that and not trying to be somebody I’m not, but just doing what got me here. And keep growing from that.”

Kayla Thornton talks about her passion for defense and where it came from:

“I think I’ve always been like that. I think that’s kind of just instilled in me. I think that it just came natural. And in college, I didn’t know what I was, so I kind of did everything in college. But I think coming to the league. You know what, let me take that back when I was in Washington and when they told me I was undersized and wasn’t big enough to guard so and so and stuff like that. That’s kind of when I was just like, you know, what, let me prove them wrong.

And then I started really building my game on defense and really focused on the defensive tactics of the little things and how to do certain things and stuff like that. So I think it kind of spiraled from that. And from there, I kind of just took that on. I took on challenges and stuff like that. And it just became something that I love to do that kind of gets me going and gets my game going that leads to everything else.”

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