The New York freedom legend continues?

This New York Liberty season could take center stage around a certain point guard, one of the dwindling Pac-12's last hardwood stars.

Sabrina Ionescu is also on the team.

The Liberty's short but eventful preseason gave birth to the legend of Jaylyn Sherrod, an undrafted 5-7 rookie from Colorado who captured the hearts and imaginations of Brooklynites looking for a championship edge while your team strives for a final step. Anyone looking to get an extra edge in the WNBA might want to take a look at Sherrod's history of earning her minutes.

“I play with energy,” Sherrod said, previously citing her speed and “defensive intensity” as skills that set her apart from other camp invitees. “I've always said that for me it's not about talent. That has never been the case. I'm a talented player, but that was never my goal. So it's just a matter of going in, playing hard and maximizing my chances. It could have been” “It was three minutes, it could have been 20 minutes, I would have been the same in terms of energy.”

Any offseason that failed to draft Caitlin Clark would have paled in comparison to the season the Liberty posted last winter, a stretch that featured not just All-Stars but downright legendary WNBA talent produced. This time around, New York's offseason returns were primarily focused on the rookie variety, a group led by Marquesha Davis, selected No. 11 overall. The Mississippi graduate was slated to be one of the headliners of a revamped banking unit, and Sherrod made a point to get involved in her limited time to impress.

Sherrod, in the midst of leading the Buffaloes to consecutive Sweet 16 appearances for the first time in more than two decades, made the most of the Liberty's preseason duo: She was the silver lining Tuesday in an otherwise dreary opener in Chicago , before she played the Hero of the Year final win on Thursday in Connecticut.

Although Sherrod's unofficial pro debut was largely buried under a brutal night for New York's starters, it received special recognition from head coach Sandy Brondello, who lamented the “unfair” conditions Sherrod, Davis and their fellow freshmen endured.

“She did a great job. When she came off the bench, she managed two steals in a row and gave us some momentum even though we were well behind,” praised Brondello. “She's fast. She could guard Dana Evans (Chicago guard). No one else could do that. She can stay in front and put pressure on them. Jaylyn took advantage of her strengths. We're very proud that she came in and made one. “As a young player you have to take your hat off to what you're good at and she did a good job.

Things went better on Thursday against the Connecticut Sun, where the Liberty All-Stars played their more traditional style. After back-to-back three-pointers from Ionescu, Betnijah Laney-Hamilton and Courtney Vandersloot created a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter, Brondello gave her reserves extended action against a Connecticut second unit featuring veteran WNBA talent like Rachel Banham, Queen Egbo and Tyasha Harris.

Although the tightly packed Connecticut team fought back and briefly took the lead, Sherrod found a lucky way home and converted an interception from the arms of Egbo into the decisive game-winner. New York later forced a shot clock violation before Sherrod capped an eight-point night with free throws after an intentional foul by Banham.

“She did a great job there,” Brondello said. “She played so hard. I decided to include her because she is such a game changer. I think it's just her athleticism that really works. Banham had a tough time, but credit to HR, she's just resilient and she really uses her speed and gave us a really big turnover that helped us win the game.

Sherrod survived the first round of cuts in the Liberty camp announced Saturday, and the final spots appear to be due to her battles with Davis and second-round pick Esmery Martinez. As of Sunday, Sherrod is still on the roster and participating in practice to prepare the Liberty for their season opener on Tuesday at Washington (7:00 p.m. ET, WWOR).

Regardless of whether her No. 0 jersey still bears her name come Tuesday, Sherrod appears to have made a case for inclusion in the WNBA, which will only get stronger when newcomers Golden State and Toronto join in the near future. Whatever the case, Sherrod refuses to take the New York experience for granted, no matter how or when it ends.

“This is a great opportunity. I just try to absorb as much information as I can,” Sherrod said. “Especially when I play the point guard position, I think the best thing I can do is absorb as much information as possible, learn from my teammates, learn what they like to do and what positions they like to play I’m happy to take it.”

“With my speed I know I can create a lot of chances, but it's also good to know where people like to get the ball and put them in the best position to do what they like to do… Not many people .” Seize this opportunity. Regardless of how this roster develops, it's always a blessing to be in a room with so much greatness. I am blessed to say that I do.

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Anna Harden

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