Some important depth up front
WHITE PLAINS — On Friday afternoon the New York Liberty announced that they have signed Avery Warley-Talbert, who in 2019 previously appeared on New York’s May practice squad and appeared in all four preseason games.
The Liberty were granted an emergency salary cap exception by the league amid an injured Rebecca Allen and four players currently on international commitments for Eurobasket, including Amanda Zahui B (Sweden), Kiah Stokes (Turkey), Bria Harley (France) and rookie guard Marine Johannes (France).
This signing comes as a part of a consistent strategy implemented by freshman GM Jonathan Kolb, which considers who is familiar and who has experience vibing with the older core of this team. The center played in New York from 2014-2015, and it’s not a coincidence that this intersects with veteran Tanisha Wright’s initial tenure with the Liberty. The five year Veteran started her WNBA career in 2012 with the Phoenix Mercury on a training camp contract and then found herself signing as a free agent with New York two years later.
Warley-Talbert, who graduated from Liberty University of the Big South Conference, remains the all-time leader in rebounds in school and conference history.
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And New York needs a rebounding machine to ameliorate the void Zahui B left, and that’s something that they could get in a reunion with Warley-Talbert. When she’s most effective, Warley-Talbert can put up as many six rebounds per game, which was something she accomplished against the Atlanta Dream in pre-season. Her success against her former team maybe significant as New York faces off against the Dream for the first time during the regular season on Sunday. Also, the addition of the veteran will take some pressure off Nayo Raincock- Ekunwe and the resurgent Reshanda Gray, who will most likely be starting her second game this season against the Wings tonight at home.
The signing comes over a week after Zahui B’s departure. When asked about the timing of the signing Smith cited New York’s schedule as what kept another player off the court.
“We’ve asked a few other people that have declined or are resting or what not,” she said prior to Friday night’s game. “So we are just trying to find the right fit or somebody who can help us. The first game was tough because they weren’t going to play anyways because it was a day in between a game. And this week before this game, we had this time to get her in there.”
Smith realizes that her team is most successful when they can get physical and rebound, and the 26 boards against the Lynx wasn’t enough. Amid the losses of Zahui B, Hartley and Allen, a familiar inside force can only help New York take on veteran post players.
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