Liberty Selects Essence Carson & Erlana Larkins In WNBA Draft First Round

NEW YORK, N.Y. [April 9] – New York Liberty President and General Manager Carol Blazejowski announced today that the team selected guard Essence Carson from Rutgers University with the No. 7 overall pick and forward Erlana Larkins from the University of North Carolina with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2008 WNBA Draft. With two subsequent picks, the team added guard Wanisha Smith from Duke University and guard Alberta Auguste from the University of Tennessee.

Carson, a 6-0 guard from Paterson, New Jersey, averaged 10.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game in her senior season at Rutgers. This year she was named to the All-Big East Second Team, honored as a 2008 Wade Trophy finalist and awarded her third Big East Defensive Player of the Year title as a Scarlet Knight.

Larkins, a 6-1 forward, averaged 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds this season for the Tar Heels. She was a 2008 Wade Trophy finalist and earned All-ACC First Team and Associated Press All-America Second Team accolades.

“The Liberty's goal remains the same: to provide our fans with the most competitive team we can assemble that contends for the WNBA Championship each year,” said Blazejowski. “We are thrilled to add Carson and Larkins, two of the most complete and talented players from this year's deep WNBA Draft pool who will provide our roster with terrific flexibility.”

Smith, a 5-11 guard selected in the second round (27th overall), averaged 9.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists with second team All-ACC Tournament accolades in her senior year. She will graduate as the Blue Devils’ fourth all-time career assists leader with 496 total.

Auguste, a 5-11 forward selected in the third round (35th overall), is a member of the back-to-back national champion Tennessee squad. She averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds as a senior and started the Lady Vols’ final nine games of the season.

New York City will be able to see the Liberty’s newest additions in a pre-season matinee match-up against the Washington Mystics at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 8 at Madison Square Garden. The Liberty will officially tip-off its 12th WNBA season at Madison Square Garden on Sunday, May 18 at 4:00 p.m. against the Connecticut Sun. The game will be televised on MSG.

Individual game tickets for the 2008 Liberty regular season can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, on-line at NYLiberty.com, by phone at (877) WNBA-TIX and all Ticketmaster outlets.