The New York Liberty are currently fighting for the final playoff spot in the WNBA. While their remaining playoff hopes are the primary focus for NYL content the last two weeks, I believe there is a more intriguing aspect of the team that doesn’t get enough attention. That aspect is Marine Johannes. This season, Johannes is averaging 9.7 points. 1.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists, all while shooting an incredible 41.5% from three. Her impact from a statistical standpoint is already impressive. But, like many of the greats, and yes, she is a “GREAT”, her impact goes well beyond the stat sheet.
Johannes is wrapping up her second year in the WNBA and putting the league on notice. Johannes was drafted by the Liberty in 2019, but missed the 2021 and 2022 seasons due to the COVID pandemic and prior obligations to international teams. Johannes found a role as the Liberty’s first guard off the bench, usually replacing Crystal Dangerfield. Though she comes of the bench, make no mistake. Marine Johannes is a starter in this league.
One thing that makes Johannes so important to the Liberty is the timeliness of her buckets. Sabrina Ionescu can usually be counted on to provide most of the offense for the Liberty, but when she struggles, the Liberty can struggle to find a spark plug. That’s where Johannes excels. She provides a consistent scoring punch for the Liberty, off the bench, and tends to score in flurries that bring energy to the Liberty when needed.
In the final game of the season, the Liberty came out sluggish against the Atlanta Dream and earned an early 10 point deficit. Johannes came in late in the first and hit 4 consecutive 3’s to put the Liberty in the lead and give the team the spark they needed to compete.
Beyond scoring, she facilitates the offense with Ionescu off the floor incredibly well. Averaging 3.4 assists on only 25mpg is impressive, especially given the fact she is a third in command ball handler behind Ionescu and Dangerfield. She has a great connection with Natasha Howard on pick and roll plays and provides easy baskets for her and Stephanie Dolson by playing downhill and aggressive.
WNBA, Be Ready
I would like to see Johannes become more of a focal point for the Liberty next season. She played a starting role for stretches during the season when the Liberty were dealing with injuries. In that time, she showed confidence in herself and thrived with more minutes and responsibility. I would love to see the Liberty move Dangerfield to a bench role and allow her to facilitate the offense when Ionescu/Howard are off the floor. Putting Johannes in the starting role makes the Liberty more dangerous and would likely mitigate the number of games they get out to slow starts and early deficits.
Marine Johannes showed she is a star in this league, this season. I think with the opportunity, she will find her way to a WNBA All-Star game in the next two seasons. The future holds the answers, but Johannes is unquestionably one of the players I am most excited to watch next season.