Despite crazy summer-like temps in the Big Apple Friday, things aren’t looking to hot in New York City for women’s basketball.
On Friday, the New York Liberty (1-0) confirmed that starting point guard Brittany Boyd tore her left Achilles tendon in Thursday’s home game against the Minnesota Lynx (1-0). It happened in the fourth quarter when Boyd took a misstep, fell to the floor, and then limped off court. The California native will undergo surgery on Monday, likely causing her to miss the remainder of the season.
“Brittany suffered an unfortunate injury after working hard to come into this season prepared to lead our team from the point guard position,” Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer said in a prepared statement. “She had an excellent training camp and was poised for a breakout season, as evidenced by the way she performed in our first two games. We are all hoping for a speedy recovery.”
The New York Liberty has released the following injury update regarding point guard Brittany Boyd. pic.twitter.com/Vm68b1E3vH
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) May 19, 2017
I feel so bad for Liberty guard Brittany Boyd (torn Achilles). Hard worker, but such bad luck with injuries. Let's hope for full recovery.
— Mechelle Voepel (@MechelleV) May 19, 2017
While this may not come as big of news for those still waiting to hear when 2017 No. 1 WNBA draft pick, Kelsey Plum, will play her first game for the San Antonio Stars after suffering an ankle sprain in training camp, it’s gigantic news for Liberty and WNBA league fans at large.
Last year—and certainly in the Liberty’s first two games of this season—Boyd had become key to New York’s ability to put up points. In last weekend’s season opener against the Stars, the 2015 All-Rookie Team sealed the win for the Liberty, 73–64, by making three major plays in the final minutes. Less than one week later, in Thursday’s game against Minnesota, Boyd was the Liberty’s second-leading scorer, tallying 16 points while playing only 16 minutes.
During Thursday’s game, Boyd also sparked multiple runs and made arguably the most impressive play when she intercepted a Lynx pass in the third quarter, pushed the ball down to her team’s basket and jumped over Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen to finish the layup as she was fouled.
— Basketball Society (@BBallSociety_) May 19, 2017
While Boyd may get in trouble from time to time due to her emotional intensity—she picked a fight with the Stars Monique Currie in this year’s season opener—she’s still someone whom you want on your team because, at the end of the day, she makes the big plays.
So what will the Liberty do now that Boyd is likely out for the rest of the season?
Liberty’s leading scorers Tina Charles and Sugar Rodgers will obviously have to step up even more. Charles’ WNBA accolades are endless, and some even calling her a truly unstoppable threat. But during Thursday’s game against the Lynx, Minnesota proved that Charles is actually stoppable, holding her to only 6 points total—a severe low for the center who averaged 21.6 points per game last season.
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As for starting guard and 3-point specialist Rodgers, she racked up more points than anyone on Thursday, amassing 20 overall and going four-for-seven beyond the stripe. Rodgers seems to be on track for a great season, but is that enough?
Probably not. If Charles continues to play how she has in this season’s first two games and Rodgers has an off night, there’s really no one one on the Liberty who can step up like Boyd can. New York’s best bets are probably Shavonte Zellous, Epiphany Prince and Bria Hartley, but none has yet to take on larger roles in their pro careers. But, with Boyd likely to be done for the year, these players have little choice. It could be a great opportunity in an unfortunate time, or it could all come crashing down as player roles shake up in Boyd’s absence.
If we know one thing, it’s that the Liberty have now been tested. We will see how they respond.