In just four seasons, Kiah Stokes has been the New York Liberty’s queen of the blocks, earning 163 thus far.
You can’t talk New York City without bringing up blocks. New York Liberty center Kiah Stokes is a native of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but she might know of the concept better than anyone in the metropolitan area.
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) March 30, 2020
Stokes is celebrating her 26th birthday on Monday. She joined the Liberty as their first-round pick out of Connecticut in the 2015 WNBA Draft. Her Storrs career ended with her ranked fourth in UConn blocks, behind previous Liberty star Rebecca Lobo. Stokes has carried on the New York tradition in dominant fashion.
Through just four seasons (sitting out all of last year due to European play and personal reasons), Stokes established herself as the all-time leader in Liberty blocks with 163. She’s set to return to the team this season having been re-signed to a two-year deal.
In celebration of Stokes’ special day, check out some of her most memorable swats…
7/16/15: Sun Block
There’s a Garden party, and then there’s a Garden block party. Stokes somehow pulled off both in one of her first games in Manhattan.
The Connecticut alumna battle the professionals from The Constitution State in the form of the Sun. Those who likely cheered her exploits in college could likely only watch in horror as she tallied a Liberty-record eight blocks in a 64-57 win.
9/22/15: Mystical First Impressions
Stokes certainly had postseason experience upon her WNBA entry. That tends to happen when you play basketball in Connecticut. Thus, it shouldn’t have been too drastic of a surprise to see her come up big during the Liberty’s 2015 postseason visit.
Driven to a deciding game against the Washington Mystics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Madison Square Garden, the Liberty led 77-74 in the final minute. A potential tying triple from Washington’s Ivory Latta fell short, however, thanks to the outreached hand of Stokes, sending MSG into hysterics. Stokes also led the Liberty with 13 rebounds, and her layup in the penultimate minute gave New York the lead for good.
6/5/16: Star-Blocks Coffee
Stokes and Seattle Storm superstar Breanna Stewart haunted the paint together for three seasons at UConn. Stewart entered the league as the top overall pick one year after Stokes made her New York debut. Their first professional meeting came on a Sunday afternoon at KeyArena.
The Liberty led for a majority of the tilt, but Seattle was mounting a late comeback. With the New York lead down to six in the final minute, Stewart’s potential momentum-shifting layup was rudely rejected by her former teammate. Stewart played witness to countless Stokes blocks in Storrs…only this time, she was the victim. Seattle failed to score for the remainder of the game, and the Liberty took an 86-78 decision.
7/24/18: The Missing Lynx
Stokes’ record-breaking moment came with little fanfare in an 85-82 defeat to the Minnesota Lynx. It went down in the official box score as a block, even if it appears the whistle was blown before Stokes rejected Lindsay Whalen on a fast break. Either way, it cemented Stokes’ spot as the Liberty’s queens of blocks. She ended the 2018 season with 163 on her ledger and that number should only increase when the league returns.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags