The New York Liberty got a big boost from Monday night’s WNBA Draft, where the team selected power forward Nyara Sabally 5th overall — adding significant size and strength to the roster.
“It’s a surreal moment,” Sabally said. “It’s amazing to get drafted by New York. This city is amazing, the organization is amazing. It’s just very surreal, and I’m super excited.”
Sabally, from the University of Oregon, stands at 6’5” and is widely seen as a terrific finisher around the rim, who can also defend opposing forwards and centers.
Born in Germany, Sabally will join the youthful roster of the Liberty, which is on the come-up within the premiere women’s basketball league after a playoff appearance last season.
“I’m super excited. It’s a bunch of young kids — not young kids, young women — that I’m super, super excited to play with,” she said. “I’m just excited to learn from them.”
The team went 12–20 last year, which put them as the 8th seed in the league, though they went on to lose to the Phoenix Mercury in the first round of the playoffs. The Chicago Sky went on to win the championship.
The team from New York is stacked with talented guards, but lacked significant size in the frontcourt.
Now with Sabally, they’ve gotten their premier prospect — while also adding two other women with impressive size in power forward Lorela Cubaj, who they selected 18th overall, and center Sika Kone, who went 29th in the draft.
Nayara Sabally is the sister of Satou Sabally, who previously played in the WNBA, before heading overseas to play in the duo’s hometown of Germany.
“[Satou] was on a Zoom call with me when I got drafted. I saw her face. She was very excited,” said the new Liberty power forward. “Satou has given me a lot of advice, especially just saying that I’ve got to be ready for the physicality and how fast-paced the game is. It’s a completely different level than in college. But at the same time just doing what I did to get here.”
As for her role next season with the team from Barclays Center, Sabally said she would do whatever the team needed her to.
“I mean, just bringing in whatever I need to bring in, doing whatever they need me to do,” she said. “I want to learn. I want to grow, and I want to enjoy every moment and take everything in because you’re only a rookie once, so just enjoying everything and having fun mostly.”
The upcoming season of the WNBA will begin on May 6.