Current roster certainties and virtual certainties:
PG: Kelly Miller/Leilani Mitchell
SG: Cappie Pondexter/Essence Carson
SF: Nicole Powell/Alex Montgomery
PF: Plenette Pierson/(Quanitra Hollingsworth)
C: Kia Vaughn/Kara Braxton
Fighting for the remaining one or two spots: DeMya Walker, Kelley Cain, Raffaella Masciadri, Sydney Colson, various other people the Libs haven’t bothered to tell anyone about.
It was pretty quiet for the Liberty and their fans through most of the offseason. They re-signed Leilani Mitchell and added veteran Kelly Miller to help her at the point, which should keep Cappie Pondexter at shooting guard a little more consistently this season (although “Cappie, do something” will likely still be the solitary crunch-time play). They also eventually re-signed key backup Essence Carson, although it took a while and some of the fans were becoming a little nervous.
Then everything got a little weird. Head coach and general manager John Whisenant shocked everybody by taking center Kelley Cain with the #7 overall pick in the draft, a player who left the University of Tennessee because her body couldn’t take the pounding of the NCAAs. She’s currently still involved in the Turkish second division playoffs, but presumably they’re expecting her to arrive and join the team this season. How they expect her to survive in the WNBA if she couldn’t last at Tennessee I have no idea.
Cain isn’t the only issue in the post for New York, either. Quanitra Hollingsworth has reportedly received a Turkish passport, with a view to her playing in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the end of June and then the Games themselves. The team has also confirmed that Janel McCarville will skip another WNBA season in 2012, so no help there either. Whisenant went back to his Sacramento Monarchs roots by signing veteran (and I do mean veteran) DeMya Walker, and her familiarity with Whiz’s system may give her the lead in sneaking into one of those final roster spots. We’ll see whether Whiz is willing to temporarily suspend Hollingsworth if she wants to join up part-way through the season, or if he simply suspends her for the year as he did with McCarville last season
With Mitchell re-signed, Miller added and Pondexter still around as a primary ballhandler, the Sydney Colson experiment may well be over in New York. They quietly signed Italian wing Raffaella Masciadri a while back, didn’t announce it to anyone, and as the Italian playoffs she’s involved in may not end until May 13th she might well be cut before even crossing the Atlantic. She’s on the same team as McCarville in Italy, so maybe the signing was an attempt to encourage Janel back (in which case it obviously didn’t work). So the few question marks in The Liberty camp surround those post spots. But then, everyone thought the Liberty interior would collapse without McCarville and Taj McWilliams-Franklin last season, and they pretty much survived. Whisenant will be hoping to pull off the same trick regardless of who’s on his roster come opening day.