There is a lot for New York Liberty fans to learn about the two newest members of the squad, center Kia Vaughn, and guard Bria Hartley. For Vaughn, a native of the Bronx, it is a 2nd stint with her hometown team, after being drafted by New York in 2009, and Hartley will suit up for a team she was following since she first started playing the game. Take a deeper look at their history and numerous connections to some of their new teammates.
New York State of Mind
With the additions of Vaughn and Hartley, the Liberty are bringing home a couple of native New Yorkers. Vaughn is from the Bronx, and attended St. Michaels, just blocks away from Madison Square Garden when she was in high school. From North Babylong, N.Y., on Long Island, Hartley also comes closer to home, her friends, and family.
Vaughn, from the Bronx, and a product of Rutgers University, was originally drafted by the Liberty at No. 8 overall in 2009. She spent her 1st four WNBA seasons in New York, before being traded to the Mystics prior to the start of the 2013 season. Her best year as a pro came with the Libs back in 2011, when she averaged 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, and won the WNBA’s Most Improved Player Award.
Not only are both Vaughn and Hartley coming home to NYC to play for New York, but they have a great deal of history with several of the Liberty’s current players. For Vaughn, she is reunited with Epiphanny Prince, who she played with at Rutgers, and even before that for the Exodus NYC AAU squad. As one of the best players in New York, she has also been competing against Tina Charles for more than a decade. While Vaughn was with the Liberty previously, neither Charles or Prince was on the team during her first stint in NY.
For Hartley, she is teams up with a good friend and former college teammate Kiah Stokes. The two shared the court at the University of Connecticut for three seasons, prior to Hartley’s being drafted in 2014. They won two national titles together with the Huskies (2013, 2014). While she did not overlap with Piph or Vaughn, Hartley is also an Exodus alumnus.
Vaughn has 250 WNBA games under her belt and boasts career averages of 6.5 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. She also has been to the playoffs in six of her first seven pro campaigns, only missing the postseason last year in D.C.
While Hartley’s best offensive season came during her rookie year in 2014, when she put up 9.7 ppg and knocked down 33 3-pointers, her shooting percentage has been on the rise. She figures to pose a formidable threat as a guard that can beat a defender off the dribble, or connect from deep; she shot .362 from long-distance a year ago.