Entering her eighth season of WNBA action, newcomer Layshia Clarendon will be the most experienced member of the 2020 New York Liberty.
Coast to coast, New York Liberty guard Layshia Clarendon has had quite the basketball journey.
The Cal-Berkeley alumna turned 29 on Saturday while preparing to enter her eighth year of WNBA service and first in New York. Clarendon has put up 6.9 points and 2.9 assists per game over her career, with her banner season coming in 2017. She led the WNBA in assists (226) that year and earned an invitation to the WNBA All-Star Game in Seattle as a member of the Atlanta Dream.
Her WNBA entry came in 2013 as the No. 9 overall pick of the draft proceedings.
Clarendon, a San Bernardino, California native, has also partaken in the Team USA national team proceedings and has been one of the WNBA’s most active representatives off the court. One of her most recent causes, for example, is fighting against voter suppression.
“I know that they picked up Clarendon and she’s been a great guard in the league,” top overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu said after her New York entry. “(I’m) excited to learn from her, and she’s had experience, and so I’m excited to learn from her on and off the court.”
Clarendon recently welcomed fellow Liberty newcomer and West Coast resident Ionescu to New York in a video shared by the team. From the appropriate distance, of course.
In celebration of Clarendon’s birthday, we look back on some of the top moments of her basketball career thus far.
April 1, 2013: Cal’s Golden Moment
The California Golden Bears weren’t exactly March Madness pushovers. By the time Clarendon hit her senior year, the Bears had reached the postseason in seven straight years. Not to mention, they won the WNIT in Clarendon’s freshman year (2010).
But her efforts took Berkley to new heights, saving the best for last.
The Bears won a program-best 32 games and earned second-seed honors in the NCAA Tournament’s Spokane region. Picked by Barack Obama to emerge to the Final Four, Clarendon helped the 44th president’s prediction come true by overseeing a come-from-behind effort in the regional final against Georgia.
Clarendon tallied 17 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, eliminating a 10-point Bulldog lead with just under seven minutes left in regulation. Her 15-foot conversion with 38 seconds remaining in the extra period proved to be a dagger, giving Berkeley a 63-57 lead in what eventually became a 65-62 win.
July 7, 2017: 27th Heaven
Clarendon’s career-high in scoring, at least to date, came against the squad that originally employed her. Nineteen first-half points set the pace for an 89-68 win, and Clarendon added eight more in the second half to create her personal best of 27. To cap it off, she also shot 11-of-15 from the field.
July 22, 2017: Helping Hand
Clarendon’s banner year in 2017 was commemorated with her first WNBA All-Star Game invite. She was more than happy to prove herself worthy of the accomplishment.
Participating with fellow Dream representatives Tiffany Hayes and Elizabeth Williams, Clarendon earned a double-double in a 130-121 defeat in the exhibition. In just 17 minutes of action, Clarendon led the East squad in assists (10) and her 14 points were tied for second-best alongside Allie Quigley and Candice Dupree.
July 25, 2017: Cooling the Mercury
As the 2017 season resumed after the All-Star break, Clarendon picked up right where she left off.
In Atlanta’s first game back against Phoenix, Clarendon helped the Dream overcome an 18-point deficit by apparently becoming the sixth player in WNBA history to post a triple-double with 15 points, 11 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Stat corrections (taking away two assists) erased the accomplishment the following day, but Clarendon was concerned only about the final score, which Atlanta took by a 99-91 final in overtime.
June 14, 2018: Catch You on the Flippity Flip
Injuries slowed down Clarendon for much of the 2019 campaign. Nevertheless, she did show off a hint of what’s to come in New York during one of her final stands with the Dream.
Shortly before she was dealt to Connecticut, Clarendon came up big in the fourth quarter in a June tilt against her former employers. She tallied nine fourth-quarter points in a narrow game, capping things off with a flashy reverse layup that wowed the Georgia Tech crowd. Atlanta took the game by a 72-67 final.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags