The New York Liberty selected guards Tyaunna Marshall (14th overall) in the second round and Meighan Simmons (26th overall) in the third round of the 2014 WNBA Draft tonight.
“We went into the draft looking for perimeter help and were able to secure solid additions to our roster with Tyaunna and Meighan,” said Liberty Head Coach and General Manager Bill Laimbeer. “Tyaunna fits the profile of the Liberty’s big guards, and Simmons was a great value pick and can push the ball in the style we want to play.”
Marshall, a 5-9 guard, finished her career at Georgia Tech as the team’s all-time leading scorer with over 2,000 career points. She was also one of five Georgia Tech players of all-time with more than 1,500 career points and 600 career boards. A three-time All-ACC selection, Marshall was named to the All-Defensive Team in each of her final two seasons. For her collegiate career, she averaged 16.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Simmons, a 5-9 guard, was an All-American selection at the University of Tennessee and finalist for the National Player of the Year Award as a senior. She became the fifth Lady Vol in school history with over 2,000 career points. Simmons was named the Southeast Conference Co-Player of the Year as a junior after averaging a career-best 16.8 points per game. She was also named the conference’s Freshman of the Year in XX. Simmons posted collegiate career averages of 14.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game.
Earlier in the night Laimbeer finalized a trade with the Connecticut Sun, acquiring former WNBA Most Valuable Player and No. 1 pick Tina Charles. The Liberty traded second-year forward Kelsey Bone, 2014 first round selection Alyssa Thomas (University of Maryland) and its 2015 first round pick to the Sun in exchange for Charles and a third round draft choice in 2015.
“Tina is obviously one of the best players in the league,” said Laimbeer. “Our franchise felt we needed to add All-Star caliber players, especially with our return to Madison Square Garden, to put a competitive team on the court. With Cappie, Essence and Tina, we have a sound nucleus to build a championship caliber team.”
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft, Charles is entering her fifth season in the league. She was the unanimous WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2010 after posting the best rookie season in WNBA history with a league-record 22 double-doubles. Charles established a WNBA record with 398 rebounds and set the rookie mark for the most boards in a game with 23. Voted the Most Valuable Player in 2012, Charles set a Connecticut Sun scoring record, averaging 18 points per game. She also won her third-straight rebounding title with 10.5 rebounds per contest. For her career, Charles has posted a double-double in 80 games, including career averages of 17.3 points and 10.8 rebounds in 130 games.
A native of Queens, NY, Charles attended Christ the King High School and went on to play collegiately at the University of Connecticut. While at Connecticut, Charles won back-to-back National Championships and was name the BIG EAST Player of the Year as a senior.
Bone appeared in all 34 games (two starts) last season for the Liberty, averaging 6.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. The fifth overall pick in the 2013 draft, she ranked third and fifth, respectively among all rookies in rebounding and scoring en route to being named to the WNBA All-Rookie Team.
The Liberty will tip-off the 2014 preseason with back-to-back games against the Connecticut Sun, beginning with a road contest at Mohegan Sun Arena on Sunday, May 4 at 1 p.m., followed by a home matchup on Thursday, May 8 at 11 a.m. at Madison Square Garden. Exhibition play concludes on Sunday, May 11 at 3 p.m. against the Atlanta Dream at Philips Arena.
New York opens regular season action against Connecticut on Saturday, May 16 at 7 p.m. at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Liberty will then make their long awaited return to Madison Square Garden to host the Chicago Sky on Opening Night on Saturday, May 17 at 7 p.m. Prior to the game, the team will host a fan fest outside of The Garden starting at 3 p.m., highlighted by music, prizes, guest appearances, a talent competition for local groups and basketball contests on the Liberty sport court.
Liberty season ticket packages and individual tickets are available at NYLiberty.com.