Above: Long Island native and now White Plains resident, Bria Hartley (#8) of the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden. Photo: Clark Thompson
The Westchester County Center, billed as Westchester’s Most Famous Arena, has taken another step forward in its linkage with New York City’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) – The World’s Most Famous Arena – approximately 29 miles to the south. The County Center, already home to the Westchester Knicks, the NBA’s G-League affiliate of the MSG-based New York Knickerbockers professional basketball team, will now be the home court for another MSG owned professional franchise, the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
The County Center, a 5,000 seat arena located in White Plains, NY, the commercial and government center of Westchester County, has been hosting sporting and other events since its opening in 1930. In recent years the County Center has been the site of the professional bodybuilding competitions sanctioned by the National Physique Committee, WWE wrestling events, professional boxing including the first professional fight of Maureen Shea, the County sponsored high school Slam Dunk Basketball Tournament, Cheerleading Competition, Coed Volleyball Tournament and an annual visit by The Harlem Globetrotters.
The Westchester Knicks are having a banner year at the County Center currently standing in 1st place in the Eastern Conference Atlantic Division and having several of this year’s season players moving up to play with the NBA’s New York Knicks. Westchester's center Luke Kornet and forward Isaiah Hicks both joined the team this year under the new two-way contract, allowing them to play on both the County Center based G-League team and the MSG-based big league team. Both have currently moved up to the New York Knicks. Westchester Knicks guard Trey Burke has been called up to the NY Knicks this season following in the footsteps of Ron Baker and Damyean Dotson. Supported by dynamic performances from the Westchester Knicks Dancers, the loveable team mascot Hudson 914, and a range of fan-involvement activities, the team consistently attracts solid numbers of enthusiastic fans.
Above: Earlier this year Westchester Knicks guard Trey Burke (23) and center Luke Kornet (21) at the Westchester County Center. Both have now been called up to the New York Knicks. Photo: Warren Rosenberg courtesy Madison Square Garden.
Below: Liberty great Teresa Weatherspoon with NY Knicks Kyle O'Quinn at the County Center Photo: Lucas Rojas courtesy Madison Square Garden
The New York Liberty, one of the original teams at the WNBA’s founding, has won four conference championships and has appeared in four WNBA Championship Finals. Averaging over 7,000 fans per game and frequently topping over 15,000, Liberty games at the County Center look to attract sell-out crowds. The WNBA is the premier women’s professional basketball league recruiting from the nation’s top Division I NCAA basketball programs and boasting a number of U.S. Olympic Gold Medalists. Among the New York Liberty’s past and present Olympians are Gold Medalists Tina Charles, Swin Cash (2014-16), Cappie Poindexter (2010-14), DeLisha Milton-Jones (2013-14) and, taking over as Head Coach for the upcoming 2018 season, 3 time gold medalist Katie Smith (2000, 2004, 2008). Assisting Coach Smith is Assistant Coach Herb Williams and, perhaps the most famous NY Liberty of all, Olympic Gold Medalist, Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer, and one of the WNBA’s top 15 players of all time, Teresa Weatherspoon, Director of Player Development and Franchise Development.
For those who have followed New York Metro region high school and college basketball, look among the Liberty’s roster for hometown standouts Epiphany Prince (Murray Bergstrom H.S.; Rutgers University), Tina Charles (Jamaica, NY; UCONN), Bria Hartley (North Babylon, NY) and Kia Vaughn (Bronx NY, Rutgers).
Look for the Liberty’s historic home opener at the Westchester County Center on Friday, May 25th against the Minnesota Lynx. Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Meanwhile, the Westchester Knicks remain in action through the end of the regular season with home games on February 21st and 24th, March 8th and 23rd.
Above: Westchester Knicks mascot, Hudson (left) and NY Liberty mascot, Maddie (right) will now be working together at the Westchester County Center