Sandy Brondello is ready to hit the ground running as the New York Liberty’s new head coach, spelling out her plans for the squad’s future during a press conference on Friday.
The Liberty officially announced Brondello as their head coach a week after ESPN first reported that the former Phoenix Mercury coach was expected to land the job in New York.
Brondello admitted that she had a “sleepless night” leading up to Friday’s announcement and that she had long admired the Liberty organization from afar, calling it “possibly the best organization in the WNBA.”
Opening up about her relationship with Liberty general manager Jonathan Kolb, Brondello says the two “clicked from day one” and aligned on the vision for the team. A crucial part of that vision is winning games and bringing home the first WNBA title in franchise history.
“Our goal is to win a championship,” Brondello said. “I think that would be great for the Liberty organization, of course, but also for the WNBA.”
While the Liberty’s new coach isn’t shy about her title hopes, Brondello is also careful to emphasize the importance of the development process.
During Walt Hopkins’ two-year tenure with the Liberty, the team committed to a rebuild hybrid. Kolb says New York is slowly moving away from that, and instead adopting a “development mindset while still trying to win games.”
The Liberty has a young but promising roster. Brondello repeatedly drew attention to that fact on Friday, emphasizing the importance of facilitating cohesion moving forward.
“I want to put an environment in place where they can continue to grow individually and collectively,” she said.
A place where Brondello sees room for improvement and chemistry-building is on defense. As a team, the Liberty gave up 85.5 points per game last season, the worst mark in the WNBA. Brondello’s Mercury, meanwhile, were fourth with 79.5 points surrendered per game.
“I am a defensive coach first, and I think that’s an area that will be the focus from day one for this Liberty team,” Brondello said.
Both Brondello and Kolb were tight-lipped about the Liberty’s intentions heading into free agency, underscoring the team’s current roster. The head coach and GM did acknowledge that the Liberty would aggressively pursue players they believe could add to their existing squad, stopping short of calling out a specific name.
With talented players like Sabrina Ionescu, Betnijah Laney, Michaela Onyenwere and Natasha Howard returning, Brondello is confident that the “future is bright” in New York.