New York Liberty's mascot, backup dancers stealing the show

Apologies to Stewie, Sabrina, Jonquel and Sloot – there's yet another Queen of the Court that's known by one name, and one name only, and she just might steal the show.

The New York Liberty's infamous half-time show is headlined by Ellie the Elephant, and while the mascot does all her talkin' with her moves, Criscia Long, the senior director of entertainment, is the one running the show.

"I take every single opportunity with every single entertainer as a moment to connect, to be inspired," Long said. "It's more than basketball. It's memories."

For some, precocious pachyderm, who debuted in 2021, is the main attraction, and every icon needs a little back-up.

At 87, Shirley Koehler is a member of the Timeless Torches, one of the Liberty's dance squads that requires at least four decades of life experience.

Shirley was a professional dancer performing ballet, tap and flamenco, working for the City Ballet at Lincoln Center. Through the years, her smile has remained the same, and it shines when discussing her current dance crew.

"It's almost like a family," Shirley said. "For me, this is my happy place. I can't wait to get here. It's laughter, enjoyment, you can't believe how much fun we have."