Bec Allen is officially back in New York.
The 6′2″ Liberty guard returned from her overseas commitment with Valencia Basket Club and was in town on Sunday, according to head coach Sandy Brondello. She won’t start to get minutes in games with the Liberty until their Tuesday re-match with the Connecticut Sun, meaning a quick turnaround for Allen.
The coach expects that transition to be fairly easy given Allen’s familiarity with Brondello’s style, since Allen played with the Australian women’s national team, which Brondello coaches.
“Some things will be familiar, so it will be an easy integration, just be remembering some of the stuff,” Brondello said before the Liberty lost to the Dallas Wings, 81-71, on Sunday. “It’ll be nice to have a player of her caliber on the bench. … So excited to have Bec back.” The minutes Allen gets Tuesday will give Brondello a better look at how her team is shaping up—especially after losing DiDi Richards for longer than anticipated after she re-aggravated her right hamstring during Friday’s loss to the Indiana Fever and will be out until she is 100% healthy and ready to go.
Really, Allen’s return couldn’t have come at a better time, as the struggling Liberty (1-3), who’ve lost three games in a row, continue to figure each other out.
“She just gives us another option,” Brondello said after Sunday’s game. “You look at Dallas, they can come at you in so many different ways, but Bec’s another one that can shoot and stretch the floor out a little bit, but also make a play off the dribble.”
Asked what the teams needs to improve, Brondello said: “I think its more about getting chemistry. We gotta trudge through the mud at the moment. It’s not where we want to be, but we are, so we gotta use this as a learning thing in how we need to play to get better.”
Brondello said she’s looking forward to the week in between the Liberty’s games against the Sun and the Minnesota Lynx (Tuesday, May 24) because that’s when she’ll have the time to figure out how all her players fit.
“We haven’t had our full group together one time in training camp,” Brondello said. “So I’m still trying to work out how all the pieces fit together.”
As a reminder, starting center Stefanie Dolson didn’t join the team until midway through camp because of overseas commitments. Allen wasn’t at camp at all for the same reason. Six players on the current active roster showed up for this season after recovery from significant injuries or illness, and three players returned after missing one or more seasons.
Brondello acknowledged the team being nowhere close to where it needs to be when being a top team in the W is the goal, but reiterated her confidence in her players to turn it around as the season gets on.