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The New York Liberty announced today that they have signed free agent center Avery Warley after releasing veteran forward Cheryl Ford.
As we've noted before around here, Warley was a very strong rebounder in her rookie season with the Phoenix Mercury in 2012 and there's little question that the boards would be her immediate impact, if any at all - while the Liberty are not a poor offensive rebounding team, they're working with a slim differential relative to opponents.
The question though is whether the Liberty have any further moves coming: signing Warley leaves open the possibility of adding a bigger salary player down the line should coach/GM Bill Laimbeer be interested in making a trade, a possibility that some have mentioned after Essence Carson was ruled out for the season due to injury.
The New York Liberty defeated the Connecticut Sun on Friday night behind an extremely efficient second half. Not surprisingly, turnovers - or lack thereof - made the difference.
New York Liberty guard Leilani Mitchell had a team-high five assists against the Connecticut Sun on Friday night, but also added a game-high of four threes to go with 9 rebounds, which was more than anyone on the Sun's roster. In short, she was the total package at just 5-foot-5.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Cappie Pondexter scored 12 of her 20 points in the third quarter to spur a game-changing 34-10 run for the New York Liberty in their 78-68 win at the Prudential Center. Leilani Mitchell added 16 points, nine rebounds, and five assists off the bench, and Kara Braxton had 11 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, the latter tying her career high. For Connecticut, Allison Hightower had 17 points and five assists, and Kara Lawson had 16 points, six rebounds, and six assists. Tina Charles was held to seven points on 3-17 shooting and four rebounds.
For fuel, fire, desire, no actual Metallica songs, plot twists, other sorts of twists, bad screens, good screens, and getting Thibaulted, join your intrepid and itchy blogger after the jump.
``It's unfortunate but her knee's not responding to what it needs to be playing in this league,'' said New York Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer.WNBA
The New York Liberty defeated the Atlanta Dream 76-67 on Sunday with the help of an impressive fourth quarter performance.
Veteran guard Katie Smith was a key factor in the New York Liberty's win over the Atlanta Dream on Sunday.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Cappie Pondexter scored 10 of her 17 points in the fourth quarter to fuel a 76-67 comeback win for New York. Pondexter also added six rebounds and six assists before fouling out. Plenette Pierson tied the team high with 17 points, chipping in five boards. Sancho Lyttle led Atlanta with game highs of 18 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks.
For adjustments, nasty pointy teeth, rudeness, the roar of the crowd, frozen custard, intangibles, and heroic willpower, join your intrepid blogger, WHO DOES NOT WORK FOR PATH, after the jump.
Essence Carson will miss the remainder of the season w/ a torn left ACL, Bill Laimbeer announced today. Speedy recovery Essence!— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) June 9, 2013
New York Liberty's Essence Carson is out for the year with a torn ACL. Carson tore it in the Liberty's loss to Atlanta this past Friday. She was averaging 14.3 points and 5.5 rebounds. For more on what this means for the Liberty, click here.
Photos from the New York Liberty's school day game at the Prudential Center yesterday.
While the New York Liberty are relying heavily on defense to win games this season, they're still trying to find themselves offensively. But there were still three positives from yesterday's overtime win against the Indiana Fever.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Indiana started strong, but New York finished stronger, outscoring Indiana 14-8 in the overtime to take a 75-68 win. The Fever's Tamika Catchings led all players with 21 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. Shavonte Zellous had 15 before fouling out in the extra period, while Briann January had 13 points and a game-high five assists. Essence Carson led New York with 21 points. Cappie Pondexter had 17, 11 in the fourth quarter and overtime; Alex Montgomery added 6 of her 13 overtime.
For screens, thundersticks, the Katie who walks alone, floor care, relief, stupidity, physicality, and cardiac issues, join your intrepid and salty blogger after the jump.
A closer look at how the New York Liberty beat the Tulsa Shock on Friday night.
A photo gallery from the New York Liberty's victorious home opener.
The New York Liberty defeated the Tulsa Shock 98-96 in overtime on Friday night to get their first win of the 2013 WNBA season. While it was an inspiring win, "perfectionist" Bill Laimbeer is focused on the team's big picture.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: Cappie Pondexter's only basket in overtime broke a 76-all tie, and Glory Johnson's would-be tying lay-up came just after the buzzer, allowing New York to escape with a 78-76 win. Essence Carson led New York with 18 points; Pondexter had 13 points, 9 in the fourth quarter and overtime, to go with eight rebounds and six assists. Liz Cambage had 22 points for Tulsa before leaving with an ankle injury, while Glory Johnson had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
For hyperventilation, side-eyes, worry, sheepishness, power moves, berserk buttons, and flashbacks, join your intrepid and accidentally mulleted blogger after the jump.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: A strong third quarter and lights-out shooting from Kara Lawson propelled the Connecticut Sun to an 81-69 win in their season opener against the New York Liberty. Lawson had 23 points on 9-15 shooting, including five threes. Tina Charles notched a double-double with 19 points and 13 rebounds. For the visiting Liberty, Cappie Pondexter had 23 points.
For road trips, the falling rain, no-look passes, music theft, unconscious shooting, unconscionable defense, classy Bruins fans, and a slightly lost Katie Smith, join your intrepid and wearied blogger after the jump.
The Anne Donovan Era started off on the right note as Kara Lawson scored 23 and Tina Charles added 19 points and 13 boards. For the Liberty, Cappie Pondexter led the way with 23 points and four assists and Essence Carson added 14 more points.
In terms of the rookie stats for the Libs, Toni Young got the start but only played 12 minutes, and scored 2 points on 1-5 shooting. Kelsey Bone played 24 minutes off the bench and had a good first game with 10 points and 8 rebounds. For the Sun, Kelly Faris played just shy of 8 minutes and had one rebound and one block.
At first glance what I think may have been in the factor for the Sun winning was that it made 10 of 26 threes on the night, including five threes by Lawson. New York only made 5 of 10, which is a higher percentage, but they took fewer threes. The other notable stat disparity is turnovers where NY had 18 total, and CT had 13 total.
A statistical preview of the New York Liberty based on the season preview framework described in our primer the other day. For those not interested in all these words, the tl;dr version is essentially the first section of 2012 review and the last section titled "key question". For a look at their major offsesaon moves, check out their offseason storystream.
Just the Facts, Ma'am: The New York Liberty took over the game in the third quarter and beat the Connecticut Sun 78-67. New York committed 21 turnovers, but shot 51.6% from the field. The Liberty were led by 14 points from Cappie Pondexter, while rookie post Kelsey Bone added 12 points and six rebounds off the bench. Ashley Walker was the only Connecticut player in double figures, with 12 points.
For track work, painful confessions, hats, kicking it old-school, the soul train, defensive posterizations, taking advantage of opportunities, and familiarity, join your intrepid and shorn blogger after the jump.
From looking only at box scores, Cappie Pondexter led the way for the Libs, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting along with six rebounds and four assists. Essence Carson and Kelsey Bone also scored in double figures. In addition, Bone played 27 minutes in the game off the bench, and Toni Young earned the start, but she played a little under 16 minutes for the game. A 26-15 third quarter was the turning point in the Liberty's favor for the game.
For the Sun, no single player played over 25 minutes, with Tina Charles playing those minutes. She had 8 points, 5 rebounds, as well as two assists and steals. Ashley Walker, who was on the Mystics' preseason roster last year, and also a California Golden Bear alumna (just had to point that out for our fellow Bear fans :) ) was the leading scorer for the contest where she scored 12 points on 5-9 shooting, and made two of five three point shots.
The Sun's lone rookie, Kelly Faris played the least of the players on the roster with under 5 minutes of action and had one assist. She had a foot injury earlier during training camp so that may have been why, but if she's only earning a spot in Trudi Lacey's mentor's doghouse, we may have to start a new campaign for... you know. :)
And that's if she makes it that far... After all, the Sun didn't waste time cutting its 2nd and 3rd round picks soon after training camps began.
But in seriousness, I do want to see Kelly Faris play and make an impact even on a team that looks pretty set like the Connecticut Sun, and hopefully we'll get to see that when the regular season comes around.
Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone was selected fifth overall by the New York Liberty in the 2013 WNBA Draft on Monday. Swish Appeal had an opportunity to follow up with her and her mother about getting drafted, what she did leading up to draft night, and playing for New York Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer.
Olcay Cakir already has her own Wikipedia page! It has not yet been updated to show that she has been drafted by the New York Liberty.
She has most recently played for Fenerbahce Instanbul.
The New York Liberty selected Shenneika Smith of the St. John's Red Storm with the 25th pick in the draft.
For more on Smith, visit our overview of her game from before the tournament.
Wows: Man, I love this pick by New York. She's a great defender, a smart player, and just does the little things to win.
Wonders: She was another low usage player and they haven't done well in the WNBA. How efficient will she remain in the WNBA? What role will she fill in the WNBA? I would say this is too high for Williams but it's not exactly clear who good she can become.
Worries: There isn't really a serious concern about Williams aside from the fact that a lot of her offensive efficiency was due to her being a low usage player.
Wows: How about being an Olympic-caliber athlete? She didn't quite make the London Olympics, but that jumping ability has translated into outstanding offensive rebounding in college. If a team can get her opportunities to score in transition, she could be a very productive player.
Wonders: She has a slender build so will strength be an issue at all? Is it possible that she's quick enough and has the instincts to defend out on the perimeter? That versatility could really help her stick around.
Worries: She was not a very efficient scorer at the college level and that has been a good sign for power forward prospects in the past. Part of that might be that she's a bit more of an inside-out player than most power forward prospects, but how she's able to score at the WNBA level will be interesting to watch.
Wows: Bone is a physical specimen who has the potential to become a dominant big in the WNBA. She's an efficient scorer and solid offensive rebounder, which bode well for future success for any college player.
Wonders: How much does the low free throw rate matter? That's usually a sign of a player who's passive around the basket and Bone is anything but that.
Worries: Turnovers and foul trouble are the biggest concern for Bone and her numbers were below that of a typically successful center. It's hard to imagine her not making an impact in the league, but those numbers suggested it might be a limited impact.
Today, the Washington Mystics announced that they have acquired Quanitra Hollingsworth of the New York Liberty in exchange for the 25th pick in the 2013 Draft.
Swin Cash discusses her new book Humble Journey: More Precious Than Gold and much more in a wide-ranging interview with Marc Lamont Hill on HuffPost Live.
SB Nation's Patrick Hayes has a feature piece up about the rise of the "stretch four" in the NBA over the past 20 years, which includes a piece about former Detroit Pistons great and current New York Liberty coach and GM Bill Laimbeer.
In his first season with the Pistons, (Terry) Mills had the opportunity to play with another big man who added a perimeter shot to his repertoire as a way to prolong his effectiveness: Bill Laimbeer.
"I got a chance to play with Bill, and he was one of the original big man shooters," said Mills, who is currently an assistant basketball coach at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Mich., just outside of Detroit. "He instilled in me that if I could hit that shot, it could be really effective for me and help me in my career. Bill really helped me develop as a player and encouraged me."
And therein lies the beginning of a coaching career?
In the New York Liberty release announcing the signing of Cheryl Ford - a move ESPN's Mechelle Voepel reported would happen when they signed Deanna Nolan - coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer is quoted as saying the 6-foot-3 forward is "still one of the best rebounders in the world".
And her statistics from overseas just reinforce that.
In seven seasons, Ford has averaged 10.8 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. In her 38 WNBA playoff games, she has posted 9.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest. Internationally, Ford has played in Poland, Czech Republic, Italy and is currently a member of Canik Bld in Turkey. She is averaging 14.7 points and 14.1 rebounds over 20 games this season.
To underscore the point, Ford is currently the WNBA's all-time leader in defensive and total rebounding percentage, according to Basketball-Reference. Even if there's some decline due to age - her career best rebounding season in the WNBA was 2006 - she still figures to make an impact.
For more on the Liberty, check out our New York Liberty offseason storystream.
Liberty re-sign FC Kara Braxton sns.mx/yZlzy8— WNBA Report (@WNBAReport) March 6, 2013
Given that she also once played for the Detroit Shock, this shouldn't come as much of a surprise at this point.
As was what might've been expected, ESPN's Mechelle Voepel reports that New York Liberty coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer doesn't expect Deanna Nolan to make her return to the WNBA this season.
Laimbeer said he isn't really optimistic that Nolan, 33, will play this season in New York. But if she does, it will be for the coach with whom she won three titles in Detroit.
The other nugget from Voepel: former Detroit Shock player Cheryl Ford is also likely to return to the league this season after also taking a hiatus since her former franchise moved to Tulsa.
For more on the trade, visit our New York Liberty offseason storystream.
The Tulsa Shock have finally paved the way for Deanna Nolan to return to the WNBA by sending her to the New York Liberty in a three-team trade that also involved the Minnesota Lynx. In trading a player who was not going to play for them for at least one player who is excited to be there, the Shock have taken a step forward.
In a move that many WNBA fans have been waiting for, Deanna Nolan will be returning to the league after being traded from the Tulsa Shock to the New York Liberty as part of a three team deal that also includes Janel McCarville returning to the league with the Minnesota Lynx. Click here for the New York Liberty's full release.
Today, the New York Liberty have announced that they have traded restricted free agent center Kia Vaughn and the 17th pick in the 2013 Draft to the Washington Mystics in exchange for the 7th overall pick in the Draft which was acquired in a deal involving Jasmine Thomas. Vaughn is entering her fifth WNBA season where she averaged 6.4 points and 5 rebounds a game in 31 games played including 17 starts in 2012. Her best season statistically was in 2011 where she was named the WNBA's Most Improved Player.
Yesterday the New York Liberty announced the signing of veteran guard Katie Smith as well as re-signing of Essence Carson, who is coming off a bit of a down year statistically. But with Smith reuniting with former coach Bill Laimbeer, we take a closer look at what she might offer the team after seeing a decline in her numbers since leaving the Detroit Shock.
We'll have more reaction on this one at some point, but in the meantime the brief letter from Essence Carson also posted on their website is probably worth your time to read.
For more on the Liberty, visit our offseason storystream.
Earlier this week, New York Liberty head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer gave a Q&A with the team in regards to possible moves the team may make this offseason. It should be noted that the Liberty is currently the only WNBA team that has not made any acquisition in the 2012-2013 offseason to date and this Q&A was released this past Monday.
Here are the main takeaways that I got from reading this piece:
1. Cappie Pondexter will be the leader of this team. Coach Laimbeer believes that she could be the league's leading scorer and assister even for 2013.
2. Former Liberty center Janel McCarville has talked to Coach Laimbeer and she is "intrigued" about the possibility for playing for his staff.
3. He does like Kara Braxton's game, and it sounds like she will probably return.
4. Essence Carson is a restricted free agent and will not leave the Liberty because of salary issues, so it sounds like she figures to be in the Libs' plans for 2013.
5. Though she signed her sophomore contract with Atlanta last week, Coach Laimbeer spoke with Angel McCoughtry and liked her but didn't think that Atlanta would ever make a deal with New York.
From reading this, it sounds like Coach Laimbeer may not have indicated on what moves he'd make, but rather has indicated the types of players he'd keep.
To stay in the loop on what the Liberty does in this offseason and keep track of offseason moves when they occur, look at our StoryStream.
The New York Liberty started its 2012 season on the wrong foot with an 0-5 record, but ultimately finished with a 15-19 record to earn a trip to the playoffs where the team lost in the first round to the Connecticut Sun. After the season, Head Coach and General Manager John Whisenant was fired and subsequently replaced by former Detroit Shock coach Bill Laimbeer who won three WNBA championships during his tenure there. How will he improve the roster for the short and long term?
New York Liberty head coach and general manager Bill Laimbeer is nothing if not outspoken and in an interview with Ryan Dunleavy at the Scarlett Scuttlebutt blog during this weekend's Maggie Dixon Classic he was clear that he won't necessarily be maintaining the status quo in NYC.
That might include the future of Essence Carson and Kia Vaughn on the team.
Q: Talk about Essence Carson, Kia Vaughn and Cappie Pondexter, the three former Scarlet Knights on the Liberty?
A: "They’re known for the hard-nosed defensive stances. Cappie obviously is First-Team All-WNBA and can get her own shot. The other two are still learning how to play and find their way in the WNBA. They’re both restricted free agents. Time will tell whether it works out for both (parties) for all three to be on the team. I don’t have that answer right now. I have to go through the process next month. But they’re good at defense and you can’t win without playing defense."
To their credit, both Carson and Vaughn have been among the most improved players in the WNBA over the past two seasons and development on the offensive end - both have improved their shooting efficiency in the past two seasons, despite dips last year - has been the primary area of improvement.
Scoring is clearly something the Liberty could use more of to complement and take some pressure off of Cappie Pondexter and it will be interesting to see how they go about that with Laimbeer at the helm.
For more on Laimbeer's hire, visit our storystream.
It was pretty well known that when Bill Laimbeer resigned from the Detroit Shock that his intention was to pursue a job as a NBA coach.
After a brief stint with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach, Laimbeer has decided to put that goal aside for the time being in favor of the opportunity to get back to doing something he has proven quite good at: managing a team, as reported by ESPN's Mechelle Voepel.
"I left the WNBA because I had a plan for the NBA, and for whatever reason -- it's still unclear to me -- the plan didn't work out," Laimbeer, 55, said. "So I spent the last year here [in Florida] competing against fish and the golf course. I'm a competitive person and like the competition of basketball, so I wanted to get back into it.
"Part of what happened in the NBA will still always stick with me, just because I think I could be very successful in the NBA. But I've made a commitment here, and I think I can be very successful with the Liberty. ... Being in basketball and keeping sharp as far as managing a game and winning games -- that's what I enjoy and what I want to do."
As Voepel writes and others have mentioned, Laimbeer brings with him instant credibility and a sense of hope for Liberty fans but also another exciting personality to the WNBA.
The WNBA became a more interesting league with Bill Laimbeer's return.— Kevin Pelton (@kpeltonWBB) October 25, 2012
The New York Liberty have announced Bill Laimbeer as their new general manager and coach.