Bria Hartley
AP Photo/Darron Cummings

The North Babylon native and two-time NCAA national champion had been with the New York Liberty for the past three seasons.

New York Liberty guard Bria Hartley has signed with the Phoenix Mercury. Hartley had been with the Liberty for the past three seasons after spending the first three years of her career with the Washington Mystics.

Hartley had her start on Long Island, attending North Babylon High School. She then experienced a successful college career at the University of Connecticut. The Seattle Storm originally selected her with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA Draft before sending her off to the nation’s capital.

A January 2017 trade involving the Liberty sent Hartley back to New York. Last season, Hartley set new career-highs in scoring (9.8 PPG) and rebounding (3.2 RPG) over 24 games (18 starts). Arguably her season-best performance came in a June win over Las Vegas. During that matchup, she totaled 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists.

Hartley also partook in international affairs for the French national team. She recently helped Les Braqueuses punch their ticket to this summer’s Tokyo Olympics with an undefeated showing in the Bourges qualifying tournament. Hartley tied for second amongst all players in assists (4.7 per game), earning eight in a crucial opening victory over Australia.

Hartley is the latest acquisition in a busy offseason for the Mercury. The team also brought in All-Star Skylar Diggins-Smith via a trade with the Dallas Wings and re-signed American Olympian Brittney Griner. Diana Taurasi is also set to return from injury.

The 27-year-old bid the Liberty farewell by declaring “New york [sic] is always in my blood” on Twitter. Fellow New York guard Brittany Boyd sent her well wishes, exchanging playful social media barbs upon Hartley’s departure.

Her exit was perhaps hastened by the Liberty’s signing of former Indiana Fever All-Star Layshia Clarendon earlier this week. The team has a surplus of guards, with 2019 All-Star Kia Nurse set to return along with last season’s first-round pick Asia Durr.

New York is also expected to use the top overall pick in the upcoming draft to take Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu.

The Liberty open their season on May 16 against the Connecticut Sun.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490