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New York Liberty guard Leilani Mitchell to sit out the 2014 WNBA season

Today, the New York Liberty announced that Leilani Mitchell will sit out the 2014 WNBA season, because the guard wanted to train with the Australian national team for the FIBA World Championships and spend more time in the country.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

In an announcement that the team released today, Leilani Mitchell provided the following statement:

This past offseason I played in Australia. In addition to enjoying playing here, I have been able to get to know and spend time with relatives on my mother's side, that I either had not met before or just have not been able to spend much time with. It has been such a blessing getting to know them and also learning more about my roots and family background.

While the decision has been very difficult, I have decided to stay in Australia for the summer to continue to spend time with my family and train with the national team in preparation for the World Championships. I will miss my teammates and the entire Liberty family, especially the fans, and wish everyone the best of luck when the team returns to Madison Square Garden.

Though Mitchell was born in the United States, her mother is Australian and pledged her allegiance to the Australian national team so she could play in the FIBA World Championships later this year. During the 2013-2014 WNBA Offseason, Mitchell played for the Dandedong Rangers WNBL team in Australia, where she averaged 11.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 5.4 assists a game, where she also played alongside Seattle Storm guard Jenna O'Hea.

In terms of her WNBA playing experience, Mitchell has only played for the New York Liberty, where she spent six seasons from 2008-2013. Her most notable season was in 2010, when she won the WNBA's Most Improved Player award.