First year head coach Katie Smith finalized the 2018 New York Liberty opening night roster Thursday evening, a group slated for a season debut Sunday, May 20 at the Chicago Sky. The team returns 10 players from its lineup a season ago and introduces two more to its ranks.
Headlining New York this season will be forward Tina Charles who enters her ninth season in the league. Last year, Charles was once again named First Team All-WNBA while finishing as the runner-up in the WNBA Most Valuable Player race, after leading New York to the best record in the Eastern Conference for a third-straight season.
Accompanying the decorated veteran in the frontcourt will be Kia Vaughn, Amanda Zahui B. and Kiah Stokes, again. Vaughn put up 5.8 ppg and grabbed 4.9 boards while Zahui B. dropped 3.8 ppg and collected 1.1 rpg. Stokes averaged 4.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg and raised for 1.1 bpg.
Nine-year veteran, Shavonte Zellous, will begin her third season in the Empire State and will be reunited with former teammate and the team’s recent free-agent signee, Marissa Coleman who is also primed for her tenth year in the league. Last season, Zellous registered 11.7 ppg, the first time the guard averaged double-figures in three seasons.
New York returns its backcourt featuring 2017 Sixth Woman of the Year Sugar Rodgers, Epiphanny Prince, Bria Hartley, Rebecca Allen and Brittany Boyd. For the past two seasons, Rodgers has averaged double-figure point totals draining .380 of her looks from deep. Prince (12.0 pts, 2.89 asts) and Hartley (7.3 pts, 2.05 asts) will compete in their fourth and second respective Liberty seasons. Rebecca Allen contributed 2.8 ppg last year.
After being sidelined for a majority of the 2017 season, nursing a left achilles, Boyd looks to re-enter the lineup for the first time in over a year.
The Liberty’s promising 2018 first-round pick (10th overall), Kia Nurse, made the cut after spearheading the squad’s preseason production. The 6-0-foot UConn product, netted 14.5 ppg as the team split its appearances falling to Dallas but topping Los Angeles in the exhibition back-to-back.
Following its season debut May 20th, the Liberty host the defending champion, Minnesota Lynx, Friday, May 25 at the Westchester County Center.
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