Liberty center Kia Vaughn shoots from under the basket ahead...

Liberty center Kia Vaughn shoots from under the basket ahead of Chicago Sky center Stefanie Dolson for two points in a WNBA game at Madison Square Garden on Friday, July 14, 2017. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

The Liberty signed veteran free agent center Stefanie Dolson, the team announced on Thursday.

Dolson, 30, is coming off a 2021 championship season with the Chicago Sky. She played in 24 games, including 15 starts, for the Sky last season, averaging 7.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Dolson grew up in upstate Port Jervis and played at UConn, making four Final Four appearances and winning two national championships.

"I’m really excited to be a part of the New York Liberty, to come home and be close to my family is amazing for me," Dolson said during her introductory news conference on YouTube Thursday afternoon.

Dolson, a two-time WNBA All-Star, was drafted by the Mystics in the first round of the 2014 draft and spent her first three seasons with Washington. She played her last five seasons with the Sky. She has averaged 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists and one block in her career.

Dolson should be an immediate help at center with her physicality as well as an important locker room presence for the Liberty’s young roster. She’s also been an efficient offensive player in her career, shooting 50.4% from the field, including 38.1% from the three-point line, and 86.5% from the free-throw line. Dolson shot 48.6% from the field, 40.4% from the three-point line and 94.7% from the free-throw line last season.

She said she chose to sign with the Liberty because it was the best fit.

"They did such a good job of just making me feel special and wanted and appreciated," Dolson said. " And I think for me what sealed the deal though was probably just the team. I mean the players, looking at the roster, feeling like I can really fit in and contribute to this team and kind of play the role that I’ve always wanted to play of being that leader, being that vet."

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Other moves Thursday included a three-way trade between Chicago, Indiana and Phoenix that sent Bria Hartley to the Fever, Diamond DeShields to the Mercury and Julia Allemand to the Sky. The deal freed up some money that Phoenix could use to try to sign free agent Tina Charles. The Los Angeles Sparks traded Gabby Williams to Seattle for Katie Lou Samuelson and the Storm’s No. 9 pick in the draft. Williams helped France win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics last summer. She had been traded in 2021 from Chicago to Los Angeles before the season started. The trade also frees up money for the Sparks to pursue free agents. Dallas agreed to a multiyear extension with Arike Ogunbowale, who has averaged 19.9 points since getting drafted fifth in 2019. "We were proud to offer, and thrilled Arike accepted, a multiyear contract extension to remain with the Dallas Wings organization through at least the 2025 season," Wings president and CEO Greg Bibb said. "Arike has been one of the most prolific offensive players in the WNBA since she entered the league in 2019 and has delivered an all-time-caliber start to her career." The Atlanta Dream re-signed forward Monique Billings. She was drafted in the second round by Atlanta in 2018 and has averaged 6.2 points and 5.9 rebounds. "We are very excited to watch Mo continue to grow in a Dream uniform," general manager Dan Padover said. "She is an extremely hard worker who brings a ray of positivity to every room she enters. The way Mo shows up every day is the exact kind of passion we want this team to have, and we know her drive will continue to facilitate success on and off the court for both herself and for this franchise." — AP

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