After last year’s dismal season, it seems odd that the New York Liberty would trade its star player, Becky Hammon. Regardless, the payoff looks promising with three superstar rookies (above) gearing up for the May 20 season opener: Jessica Davenport, Tiffany Jackson, and the local Shay Doron. Doron, 22, an Israeli-born University of Maryland grad, spent her childhood moving back and forth between New York and Tel Aviv. She settled here her junior year of high school to attend Queens’ basketball-centric Christ the King.
Why did your family decide to return to New York?
The sole reason we moved back was for me to play basketball and have an opportunity to be recruited. Christ the King is the best basketball school in country.
Are you Jewish?
Did that make for a strange transition from Israel to Christ the King?
Once basketball started, I found my place. I took religion classes. I went to Mass. I sat there and respected everything and learned a lot but still had my beliefs and they were never trying to change that about me.
Where else have you played?
I played on the national Israeli team. We played in Ukraine, Russia, Croatia, Slovenia, all over. A couple summers ago we played in Lithuania.
Would you ever consider playing in Europe permanently?
I’d consider playing in Europe year-round. The season’s pretty short for the WNBA. In Europe it goes from October to May, and the WNBA is only during the summer. I still have to work year-round.
Do you think the WNBA will ever be as popular as the NBA?
Women’s basketball is changing so much, and it’s resembling the guys’ game much more. It’s really athletic, really fast, and it adds that fundamental team mentality that guys tend to lack. There’s a lot less one on one; it’s more of team game. Guys rely on personal athleticism — run up, dunk it. Women can’t do that so they rely more on each other. It’s more about helping each other out. —Rachel Wolff
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, Shay Doron’s birthplace was misidentified as Texas. She was actually born in Israel.