Vaughn Ready to Shine During Sophomore Season

Fresh off a championship this Spring in Israel, Liberty center Kia Vaughn is expecting to play a big role in bringing a WNBA title to New York this summer.

Vaughn can finally shake off the rookie jitters as she enters her second season in the WNBA and now focus on continuing to be a key frontline player on a Liberty team that added several All-Star players prior to training camp.

“Kia Vaughn had a good rookie season but will have a great second season,” said head coach Anne Donovan, one of the best post players in women’s hoops history.

Vaughn worked on all aspects of her game overseas after an up-and-down rookie season with the Liberty. She has improved her shot, low-post moves and rebounding. And, more importantly, she has become more comfortable on the basketball court as a professional player.

“I’m much more confident than last year,” Vaughn said after a recent practice. “Rookie year was a work of nerves. But overseas you gain experience. You have to play longer, and I gained the experience of playoffs since my team made it to the championship and won. We went a long way.”

Vaughn averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds last season with the Liberty. Playing for Electra Ramat in Israel, Vaughn put up 16.1 points and 8.5 boards to guide her squad to a 25-5 record en route to the Israeli League Cup.

“Having that experience of learning what to do and how to change and take care of my body should surely help me here,” Vaughn said. “Also, coming back here being a second-year player, I’m more fluent and easy with the system. I’m well aware of what I need to do.”

Vaughn is considered a big piece to the Liberty’s puzzle this season even after the team acquired All-Stars Cappie Pondexter, Nicole Powell and Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who has been one of the best frontcourt players in the league for years. Vaughn will likely be in the frontcourt rotation with Tiffany Jackson, Janel McCarville and McWilliams-Franklin.

McWilliams-Franklin, who won a championship with the Detroit Shock last summer as well as the Israeli League Cup two years ago, could be a great role model for Vaughn as they play alongside each other this season.

“I want to learn from her,” Vaughn said. “And I know that she’s going to bring it, and I just have to stay on the same line and keep going.”

Vaughn also has the opportunity to be a mentor this season. The Liberty selected forward Kalana Greene out of UConn with the first pick of the second round in the 2010 WNBA Draft. Greene made her camp debut with New York last week, and Vaughn is already giving her and the other rookie’s advice.

“I would say, ‘Don’t be nervous,’ but that comes with it,” Vaughn said.

Vaughn won’t have to worry about being nervous herself. It’s her second season and a time to really make an impact as she officially becomes a veteran.

See Kia in action all summer long with the Liberty at Madison Square Garden. Season ticket plans and individual tickets are on sale now by clicking here.