- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) - The New York Liberty acquired center Kara Braxton from Phoenix in exchange for forward Sidney Spencer on Thursday.

The 6-foot-6 Braxton averaged 10.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in 18 games for the Mercury this season. She is also third in the league in field-goal shooting at 56 percent (77 for 137). Selected seventh overall out of Georgia by Detroit in the 2005 draft, Braxton has averaged 7.9 points and 4.6 rebounds in 212 career games with the Shock and Phoenix.

The deal announced Thursday night reunites Braxton, an All-Star in 2007, with former teammate Plenette Pierson. The two were on Detroit’s championship teams in 2006 and 2008.

Kara is an All-Star player with championship experience that has been successful in the league for a number of years and will make an immediate impact on the court,” Liberty coach and general manager John Whisenant said in a statement.

“We feel this move increases our depth in the post and sets us up for further success as we look to build a championship caliber team.”

Braxton missed Phoenix’s 90-73 loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night while serving a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, according to the Mercury.

Spencer averaged 2.5 points in 16 games with New York this season. Originally selected by Los Angeles with the 25th overall pick in 2007 after helping Tennessee win the NCAA championship, she has averaged 5.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 44 percent shooting on 3-pointers (119 for 288) in 136 career games with the Sparks and Liberty.

Sidney is a player we have had our eyes on in the past,” Mercury coach Corey Gaines said. “She comes from a championship collegiate program in the University of Tennessee and her ability to shoot the ball will be a valuable asset in our system.”

Spencer missed the Liberty’s last three games, including their 59-49 win over Chicago earlier in the day, due to a strained back.

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