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Liberty re-sign Essence Carson, add F Katie Smith

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Liberty have re-signed guard-forward Essence Carson and signed forward Katie Smith.

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Carson, drafted seventh overall by the Liberty in 2008, has averaged 8.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in five seasons. Last year, the former Rutgers star had career-best averages of 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists.

``It was very important for us to re-sign Essence. She is a cornerstone of our franchise moving forward. Essence is a very athletic guard that should drive our style of play,'' Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said in a statement Monday. ``We were also fortunate to acquire Katie. She brings leadership, toughness and a discipline for the game.''

Smith, a 14-year veteran, has averaged 13.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 448 career games with Minnesota, Detroit, Washington and Seattle. The three-time Olympic gold medalist who won two WNBA titles (2006, 2008) with the Shock under Laimbeer is third on the league's career scoring list with 6,244 points. She is also first in career 3-pointers made (878) and attempted, and third in free throws made (1,412).

Terms of the deals were not disclosed.

The Liberty open the season at Connecticut on May 25, and host Tulsa in their home opener on May 31.

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