One of the biggest setbacks to the Liberty’s quest to reach the WNBA Finals in 2015 came with four games remaining in the regular season, when rookie guard Brittany Boyd fell awkwardly on the court at Madison Square Garden as she drew a foul driving to the basket against the Chicago Sky.
She would recover and sink 1-of-2 at the line, but later found she had suffered a fractured wrist, which ultimately meant she would miss the remainder of the season.
Boyd had been a spark off the bench for the Liberty all season, appearing in every game and averaging 6.6 points, 2.3 assists, and 1.1 steals, her raw athleticism and flashy play made her a dynamic game changer, a player most teams had trouble combatting, especially late in the game.
Perhaps her signature moment from 2015 came in the final minutes of a comeback win at Phoenix on July 18. Boyd came away with three steals over the final 2:41, finishing with 13 points as New York came back from seven down to win 75-73, securing its best start since 2001 in the process.
So, when Boyd missed the 2015 playoff run, it meant a lot to a team that had come to rely on her as a difference maker in pressure situations.
After spending much of her first professional offseason rehabbing, meaning she did not travel to play overseas for any amount of time, Boyd needed the start of the 2016 season to get back up to the high level of play she had become accustomed to as an All-Rookie selection a year earlier.
One of the biggest stories for the Liberty over the second half of last season, aside from Tina Charles’ historically dominant numbers, was Boyd’s development as a consistent offensive threat and tenacious defender.
Starting with her 17 point, 7 assists, 3 steal performance at Washington on July 20, Boyd displayed why the Liberty traded into the 1st Round to take her at No. 9 overall in the 2015 WNBA Draft.
Over the final 10 games of the season, she averaged 9.2 points, 6.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game, scoring in double figures 4 times. She had at least three steals in 7 of the final 11 games of the season, vaulting all the way up to 4th in the league with 1.6 steals per game.
Her assist number also skyrocketed, bolstered by a career-high 10 dimes at Dallas on Sept. 11; she ranked 15th in the W by the end of the year with 3.6 assists per game. In the month of September, Boyd recorded at least 6 assists in every game.
That hot stretch also included her season-high 19-point performance in a win over the Mercury on Sept. 3, a game that saw he shoot 7-of-8 from the field, completing several improbable finishes at the rim, with 6 assists and a couple of steals as well.
There are a lot of reasons for Liberty fans to be excited about what is in store for 2017, but after seeing how Boyd finished her sophomore campaign, redefining what her ceiling and impact can be are chief among them.