Crystal Robinson – New York Liberty

A free agent this off-season, Crystal Robinson was clear on what brought her back to the New York Liberty. “I re-signed because we’ve been so close. My whole career has been about being the second best,” explained the 5’10” guard. “In college I went to the [NAIA] Nationals three years in a row and lost by one point three years in a row. I did it three times in New York. I owe it to my teammates to try again.”

Of course, Robinson expects her returning teammates to be primed for redemption, especially after missing the post-season for the first time since 1998. “If you can’t come in there and be motivated to regain the face we lost, I really don’t know how much of a fire I can light under you. We were completely embarrassed last year. The only thing I’ve been thinking about is getting better.”

Known for her lightening quick 3-pointers and tenacious defense, Robinson says playing beside Liberty teammate Vickie Johnson in Italy this off-season has helped her both offensively and defensively. “I think people are going to be shocked. I’ve gotten much better and handling the ball. I’ll be able to initiate the break a lot more this year.”

That ball handling skill will come in handy, especially since Teresa Weatherspoon, Liberty icon and 7-year starting point guard, chose to sign with the Los Angeles Sparks. “That’s going to be the strangest thing about the season,” admitted Robinson, “not having Spoon there. Not only as a player, but because we all became very close.” But Robinson’s perspective on Weatherspoon’s decision is clear. “We all need to understand that this is a business. Spoon had to do what she had to do for her. She had to look at this as a business, because I know nobody loves New York more than Spoon.”

That being said, there’s no doubt Weatherspoon’s departure leaves an enormous void. “Just filling Spoon’s leadership role is going to be a task in itself,” said Robinson. “A lot of people are going to have to step into a role that they really haven’t done before.” But, continued Robinson, “I know the people we have — we’re professional athletes. We’re always looking for a challenge and one is presented before us now. It’s going to be a fun season for everyone.”

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