Liberty ink Smith and re-sign Carson

NY Liberty press release
February 25, 2013 - 3:54pm

NEW YORK, NY –-  New York Liberty Head Coach and General Manager Bill Laimbeer announced today that the team has re-signed guard/forward Essence Carson and agreed to a contract with free agent guard Katie Smith. Per team policy, the terms of both deals were not disclosed.

“It was very important for us to re-sign Essence. She is a cornerstone of our franchise moving forward. Essence is a very athletic guard that should drive our style of play,” said Laimbeer. “We were also fortunate to acquire Katie. She brings leadership, toughness and a discipline for the game.”

Carson played in all 34 games in 2012, making 23 starts. She was third on the team in scoring with a career-best 11.6 points per game and also averaged career highs in rebounds (3.4) and assists (1.7).

Carson, entering her sixth year in the league, has appeared in 168 career games averaging 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game. A seventh overall pick of the Liberty in 2008, Carson earned her first career WNBA All-Star nomination in 2011. She has made trips to the playoffs in four of the past five seasons, including the Eastern Conference Finals in 2008 and 2010. In 16 playoff games, Carson is averaging 8.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per contest.

A 14-year veteran of the league, Smith is a two-time WNBA Champion, winning a pair of titles with the Detroit Shock (now Tulsa) under Laimbeer in 2006 and 2008. She is a two-time First Team All-WNBA selection, and in 2011 was voted one of the Top 15 Players in WNBA history. Smith has made seven All-Star appearances, which is tied for the league all-time lead. She ranks first in the WNBA in both three-point field goals made (878) and attempted (2,377), and is third in free throws made (1,412) and career points (6,244).

Smith boasts career averages of 13.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game during the regular season in addition to shooting 36.9 percent from three-point range. In eight playoff appearances, she has totals of 12.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Her success also extends to the international level, having captured three Olympic Gold Medals in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Smith is the all-time leading scorer in the history of women’s professional basketball (ABL & WNBA) with over 7,000 career points. Smith signed with the WNBA in 1999, joining the Minnesota Lynx after a two-year stint in the ABL. She has played for four franchises - Minnesota, Detroit, Washington and Seattle - during her WNBA career.

The Liberty 2013 regular season home opener is on May 31 against the Tulsa Shock at Prudential Center.