It seemed that all the figures converged in the name of freedom, except for one: victory.

It would seem that Liberty did everything right.

Last year they moved into a new home at the Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn. The star power of the top pick in the draft and a roster with matching depth promised a strong season this year. There was a new coach. Even a new talisman.

But even if everything worked out for the Liberty, one of the first eight WNBA teams in 1997, there was one glaring exception: a win.

“Lately, I feel like maybe this is where we should be right now,” said Francois Monrok, 41, a fan who watched the Liberty beat the Chicago Sky 83-80 on Saturday in rare strong performance. . “Players in New York have a lot of ambition and the people who live in New York want their teams to succeed. It’s hard to accept failure. New Yorkers are very impatient, it’s hard to wait and wait.”

Freedom 10-17 this year. The team started the season from 1st to 7th before turning it around in June but lost momentum this month after the All-Star break.

Saturday night’s victory over the Sky (21-7), the defending champions and the best team in the league, snapped a five-game losing streak and served as a balm for a tough season.

A spate of injuries left Liberty in a bad rap, just when a winning season could help the franchise gain a foothold in New York’s hyper-competitive market.

New Yorkers could use a winner. The last team in the major four sports to win a championship were the Giants who won the Super Bowl after the 2011 season. The Liberties have not won a championship, and the Nets, their arena mates at Barclays Center, have not won one since their days in the American Basketball Association.

“We’re trying to get the ring,” said Janice Battle, 74, who has stayed with the team despite its ups and downs. “It was a little disappointing. But it’s great to be on a team, a professional women’s team, right here in Brooklyn.”

Battle has followed the team since that first season and has traveled with the team as it has played five locations over the years, from Madison Square Garden to White Plains, New York, and now to Barclays Center, which the team calls home from 2021. .

“It’s tough every year, but you know, you’re a fan,” Battle said with a slight shrug. “Here are the Yankee fans. There are Met fans. There are fans of the Giants. So I’m a Liberty fan. I love them.”

However, enthusiastic fans or not, with only nine games left in the regular season, their chances of making it to the playoffs are waning.

Much of that pressure falls on the shoulders of Sabrina Ionescu. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft. Ionescu only played three games in the 2020 season at the so-called Florida bubble before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

When Ionescu began to recover, the team began to pursue new injuries. Jocelyn Willoughby tore her Achilles tendon ahead of the 2021 season and Natasha Howard missed 15 games with a knee injury; all three returned this season only for the team to lose Bethnia Laney, who was named to their first All-Star team last season, due to a knee injury this season.

Liberty had flashes of success. Ionescu set a franchise record in points against the Las Vegas Aces earlier this month with 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for her third triple-double of her career. On Saturday, Howard recorded her sixth double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

The fans hoped that the new coach would be able to more consistently do something from the main group of Ionescu’s team; Howard; DeeDee Richards, sophomore security guard; Stephanie Dolson, veteran center; Mikaela Onyenwere, 2021 WNBA Rookie of the Year; and the Han Xu Reserve Center. Marin Johannes, a quarterback added mid-season, also became a rotational player.

The Liberty has hired Sandy Brondello, former head coach of the Phoenix Mercury, to try and kick start the 2022 season. It wasn’t always like that.

“I think players’ ability is one thing, but a coach’s ability to consistently get the best out of his players is probably more important,” said Dara Ottley-Brown, 59. – That’s the problem”.

The team still has problems with attendance. The average attendance is about 5100 fans. per game this seasonleaving Freedom placed eighth out of 12 commands. There were 6,926 players in the Saturday night game; a game on July 14 against the Las Vegas Aces, one of the top teams in the league, drew 9,896, a season-high so far. The Barclays Center has a seating capacity of 17,732, but the top tier seats are often reserved for Liberty games.

“It’s a combination of being on a roller coaster with the team, but also just watching and figuring out how women’s basketball can be more appealing,” said Martha Stark, 62, who went to high school at Brooklyn Tech just a few blocks from the stadium. . arena and has been a season ticket holder since 1997.

Elaine Kim, 47, has been attending Liberty games with her 12-year-old twins since childhood and said it was fun to watch the team and mascots develop. Ellie the Elephant was introduced as a new team in 2021.

But Kim said she believes the league and its teams still need more investment to be more successful. Low salary caps, infrequent access to television games, and few dollars in marketing compared to their male counterparts have plagued the WNBA for a long time. despite a growing fan base.

“The WNBA needs the same kind of investment that men’s sports need,” she said. “We are proving that there is a lot of interest, that it is economically viable.”

No doubt there is some hype around the team despite its record, but ultimately New York demands winners, no matter the sport.

“I know the record won’t necessarily be exactly what we want it to be,” said 26-year-old Alex Don. or three years later.

Don and his group of friends, including Paul Garlick, enjoy watching the team develop, “as opposed to jumping on the bandwagon when they’re good,” Garlick said.

The Liberty and Sky went point after point to the win on Saturday, with Ionescu’s key two-point shot in the last seconds and Onyenvere’s block on Candice Parker sealing the game and snapping Sky’s six-game winning streak. .

Howard said the victory was an opportunity to correct the course of the team.

“We ended up in this game right here,” she said. “We definitely talked about it – we need to learn how to win games. It starts right here.”

On Friday they will face Chicago again.