For the New York Liberty, it’s been a domino effect when it comes to the position of point guard. Starting with the pre-season defections of Tanisha Wright and Shoni Schimmel along with the loss of Brittany Boyd to a season-ending Achilles tear, the New York Liberty are short in this crucial spot. Now, Epiphanny Prince is leaving after tonight’s game at Madison Square Garden against the defending WNBA champion Los Angeles Sparks to go overseas. The story of Prince’s three seasons here in New York can be summarized as incomplete.
This has been the result of international obligations and a serious knee injury. Prince reads like a Ernest Hemingway novel. It’s an awesome read, with descriptions that are as vivid as the skills Prince displays on the court. Her WNBA career credentials leave no doubt. She is capable of taking over games and winning them as she teased in the road win over the Phoenix Mercury last Tuesday night in Arizona. But like the ending of “The Old Man and the Sea” we cannot hold anything tangible to prove she was here at times.
“I think it’s tough this year because I got to start the season and now have to leave in the middle of it,” Prince said, “
That goes back to her Russian citizenship, which requires her presence for the national team in all important tournaments. On this occasion, it’s the EuroBasket tournament for the next month. It’s also the by-product of the fact that Europe pays better than the WNBA. The recent removal of the ridiculous fee rule they imposed on players who left overseas during the season is a recognition by the league that if it cannot guarantee players can make a living here, they have no right to punish them from doing so elsewhere regardless of the timing.
“I’m excited to fulfill my obligation, but I feel that I have an obligation to two teams,” Prince said.
The New York Liberty have made provisions including bringing back Lindsay Allen, the final cut in this year’s training camp tomorrow. But the load will fall mainly on Bria Hartley and others who will share the responsibility.
People will have to step up,” Liberty Head coach Bill Laimbeer said, “We’ll have to look at (Shavonte) Zellous playing some there. It will be a mix and match every night depending on who we’re playing.”