Carolyn Swords Year in Review

  • Appeared in all 34 regular season games and made 22-straight starts to end the season.
  • Averaged career-bests in points (5.1) and rebounds (4.0).
  • Ranked third on the team in rebounds.
  • Had five games scoring in double figures.
  • Shot .508 percent from the field, which ranked second for New York.
  • Ranked 29th in the WNBA in rebounding and 25th with 0.7 blocks per game.
  • Grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in a win over Connecticut on Sept. 9.
  • Blocked a career-best five shots in a victory at Atlanta on June 21.

When the New York Liberty brought in Carolyn Swords for the 2015 season, the anticipation was that the 6-foot-6 center would be a great fit in a deep front court that also featured All-Star Tina Charles, returnee Avery Warley-Talbert, and rookie Kiah Stokes.

But from the outset it was clear the Liberty had gotten more than they bargained for, and Swords’ presence was key to almost everything New York was able to do on both ends of the floor.

Plagued by injury for much of her professional career, Swords missed the 2014 WNBA season to recuperate from a knee injury, but last year, she played every single regular season game and just missed one playoff game, making 27 starts for the Liberty.

Swords got off to an outstanding start, scoring in double figures in three of the first seven games of the season. In a road win at Atlanta on June 21, she shot 6-of-8 from the field to finish with 12 points, six rebounds and five blocked shots, and at one point in June, was leading the league in field goal percentage.

After Epiphanny Prince rejoined the team and Bill Laimbeer found a starting lineup combination that he stuck with for the final 22 games of the year, it was no surprise Swords was included.

With the ability to finish around the rim and knock down a long jumper, while also clogging the paint on the defensive end, Swords’ presence allowed Charles to play at the four and really let her shooting range cause nightmares for opposing defenses.

Stokes was able to come off the bench and play extended minutes if need be, meaning Liberty foes had to contend with a front court cycle of Swords, Stokes and Warley-Talbert, while Charles almost never came off the floor and continued to score at will from the four.

By the end of the year, Swords averaged career bests in points (5.1) and rebounds (4.0) while shooting 50.8 percent from the floor.

That success extended into the postseason. After netting 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting with six boards in an elimination game at Washington, Swords was forced to sit out game three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. But she was right back a day later to provide a big boost in the win over Indiana, scoring six points on 3-of-3 shooting with a block in a Liberty win.

Swords played a critical role in New York’s success last season, and figures to continue to be valued member of a dangerous frontcourt for years to come.

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