Liberty bolster frontcourt with Bone, Young

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 16, 2013
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer went into the WNBA draft looking to bolster New York's frontcourt and improve the team's athleticism. He accomplished both, getting the players he wanted with the Liberty's two first-round picks Monday night with the selections of Texas A&M's Kelsey Bone fifth overall and Oklahoma State's Toni Young at No. 7. ''They're the two picks we targeted for a long time,'' Laimbeer said in a telephone interview from Bristol, Conn., where the draft took place. ''Especially Toni Young, for three months we've been drooling over her being on the New York Liberty team. And when Kelsey Bone made noise that she was coming out, we also targeted her as a good player for us.'' Bone, who played one season at South Carolina before transferring to Texas A&M, averaged 14.2 points and 8.1 rebounds in two years with the Aggies. The 6-foot-4 center had one season of eligibility remaining, but is set to graduate next month and decided she was ready to turn pro. Young, a 6-2 forward, averaged 12.5 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in four years with the Cowgirls. ''Toni Young is a very, very athletic forward, can run the floor,'' Laimbeer said, ''and can play above the rim at times, which for the ladies' league is very good.'' Bone and Young join a Liberty team that has struggled with rebounding in recent years. New York has also not had a player average more than 6.9 boards since Elena Baranova in 2005. Laimbeer, the former Detroit Shock coach entering his first season in New York after nearly four years out of the league, started addressing that weakness by signing veteran forward Cheryl Ford last month. The former Shock star, who has averaged 9.7 rebounds in 196 career WNBA games, is returning to the league after sitting out the last three seasons. Still, Laimbeer wouldn't rule out either rookie cracking the starting lineup. ''That's up to them,'' he said. ''We play the best players and the players that mesh together with the other ones. I don't play any favorites and our players know that. They know it's a competition, a friendly competition. The bottom line is still to win, but they'll get their fair shot at it.'' The Liberty selected Tennessee's Kamiko Williams with the third pick of the second round, No. 15 overall. The 5-11 guard averaged a career-high 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds as a senior while helping the Lady Vols reach NCAA tournament's regional semifinals. New York then took Shenneika Smith with the first pick of the third round, 25th overall, with the selection they acquired earlier in the day from Washington for the rights to center Quanitra Hollingsworth. Smith, a 6-1 forward, averaged 13.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in four years at St. John's. The New York native led the Red Storm in scoring the last three seasons. ''She has the athleticism we're looking for,'' Laimbeer said. ''We're short in that small forward and we're looking to shore that up and she'll get a good opportunity to compete for a job.'' Two spots later, the Liberty selected Turkish player Olcay Cakir. Laimbeer said he doesn't expect the 20-year-old guard to join the team this year, instead viewing her as ''a pick for our future.'' New York opens training camp on May 6, and visits Connecticut for the season opener on May 25. The Liberty's home opener is May 31 against Tulsa. --- Follow Vin Cherwoo on Twitter at
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Phil Jackson reportedly does not have opt-out until 2017

Byron Scott: D’Angelo Russell’s immaturity ‘at times’ a problem

Kevin Love: Shoulder injury ‘just a stinger’

Nets’ Joe Johnson would ‘welcome’ a trade

Report: Grizzlies want Kevin Durant in free agency

WATCH: Karl-Anthony Towns throws down monster dunk


Dos Anjos: McGregor will 'break like a girl' at UFC 196

WATCH: D'Angelo Russell hit in groin by LeBron pass

Kobe Bryant has great response to Tyronn Lue story

Report: St. Louis Blues no longer interested in Jonathan Drouin

Doc Rivers: Warriors have 'swagger' of defending champion

Damian Lillard added as a finalist for 2016 U.S. Olympic Team

Terrell Owens tells Skip Bayless to stop ‘misinforming’ people

8-year-old Panthers fan writes adorable letter to Cam Newton

Donovan McNabb: I did not throw up during Super Bowl loss

Seven teams that must target a quarterback in 2016 NFL draft

Fighter says sex before fight partly to blame for loss

Kevin McHale: James Harden being out of shape hurt Rockets early

WATCH: Kevin Love re-injures left shoulder

Johnny Manziel’s grandpa on ex-girlfriend: ‘The girl has her problems’

Andy Dalton reunited with missing luggage thanks to social media

Chad ‘Ochocinco’ Johnson used to soak his ankles in urine

Why Tom Thibodeau needs to be in New York

Defensemen in high demand as NHL trade deadline looms

Thank you Daniel Bryan

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Thank you Daniel Bryan

The timeless greatness of Jaromir Jagr

The NCAAB power rankings

Report: Kings to keep coach George Karl

Was Alain Vigneault right about NHL's lack of punishment towards Wayne Simmonds?

Report: Knicks fire coach Derek Fisher

The best and worst commercials from Super Bowl 50

Best and worst from Super Bowl 50

Six best plays from Super Bowl 50

Eli doesn't look thrilled as Peyton wins Super Bowl

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker