February 01, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) The New York Liberty bolstered their backcourt, signing free agent guard Shavonte Zellous to a multiyear contract on Monday.

Zellous, a WNBA All-Star in 2013 and also the league's most improved player that season, spent the previous five years with the Indiana Fever.

''I am excited to join the New York Liberty. I know the franchise and players are hungry to win a WNBA Championship, and share the same drive and determination I do to make that happen,'' Zellous said. ''Getting to play my home games in the `World's Most Famous Arena,' in front of such a passionate fan base, is an incredible opportunity. I am thankful for the five years I spent in Indiana, where we were able to accomplish a lot, and I created so many memories.''

Zellous averaged 8.4 points last season to help the Fever reach the WNBA Finals. She will help the Liberty, who lost Epiphanny Prince to an ACL injury in November.

''Even if Piph was still healthy she was our No. 1 priority going into free agency,'' New York Liberty president Isiah Thomas said. ''Before Piph was hurt, she was high on our board in terms of people we want to have play on our team. We look at it that she understands our chemistry, understands our defensive concepts. She knows (Coach Bill) Laimbeer. It's a good fit for us.''

New York also re-signed center Carolyn Swords, who was a restricted free agent. Swords averaged 5.1 points and 4 rebounds a game for New York to help the Liberty reach the Eastern Conference finals. She appeared in all 34 regular season games, starting the final 22.

''I am thrilled to be returning to New York,'' said Swords. ''I am excited to build on our team's accomplishments from last season, and I cannot wait to get back to our fans at Madison Square Garden.''

Thomas said that the Liberty are still looking to make other moves.

''We're still in the market, still active,'' he said. ''We still want to improve our team and we know we have to get better. We're still active, still beating the bushes.''

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