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North Babylon's Bria Hartley signs with Phoenix Mercury

The Liberty's Bria Hartley passes against the Chicago

The Liberty's Bria Hartley passes against the Chicago Sky at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, N.Y., on July 15, 2018. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

Bria Hartley is headed west to join the Phoenix Mercury.

Hartley, a 5-8 combo guard from North Babylon who was an unrestricted free agent, signed a free-agent deal with the Mercury, the team announced.

Hartley spent the past three seasons with the Liberty, appearing in 92 games, including 62 starts. Hartley averaged a career-high 9.8 points in 24 games for the Liberty last season, which included 18 starts. She has career averages of 7.9 points, 2.7 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game in her six-year career with the Washington Mystics and Liberty.

She isn’t the only guard heading to Phoenix. Skylar Diggins-Smith, a four-time All-Star who sat out last season, is leaving the Dallas Wings after a sign-and-trade deal with the Mercury. The Wings received the No. 5 and 7 picks in the upcoming WNBA Draft. Hartley will also join nine-time All-Star Diana Taurasi, who is the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, in the Mercury’s backcourt.

Hartley, Newsday’s 2010 Player of the Year out of North Babylon High School, won two national titles at UConn. She was taken with the seventh overall pick in the 2014 draft by the Seattle Storm, but was traded to the Mystics without ever playing a game for the Storm. She spent her first three seasons with the Mystics, averaging 7.1 points and 2.4 assists in 83 games, including 34 starts.

The Liberty brought Hartley home when they acquired her as part of a three-team deal with the Mystics and Storm in January 2017.

Hartley has been playing with the French national team and is expected to be part of France’s team in this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo.

The Liberty signed veteran point guard Layshia Clarendon in free agency earlier this week and already have guards Kia Nurse and Asia Durr – their first-round picks from the past two drafts – in the backcourt. The Liberty also have the top overall pick in the upcoming draft and are widely expected to select Oregon star guard Sabrina Ionescu.

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