The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury has re-signed veteran free agent center Kia Vaughn, the team announced today. Vaughn initially joined Phoenix after signing a one-year deal as an unrestricted free agent last February.

“It’s no exaggeration to say Kia Vaughn was one of the players who saved our 2020 season as we dealt with a slew of injuries and adversity last year. Not only did she step into the starting lineup and prove productive and reliable but her energy and work ethic were indispensable to our locker room and team culture. We are thrilled to welcome her back.”

– GM Jim Pitman

An 11-year WNBA veteran, the 6-4 center averaged 6.1 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.9 minutes per game, while shooting 48.8 percent from the field, in her first season with the Mercury. Vaughn appeared in all 22 games for Phoenix at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., starting the final 10 games of the season as Phoenix went 7-3 (.700) down the stretch. Vaughn averaged 9.7 points and 4.6 rebounds as a starter (2.9 points, 2.4 rebounds as a reserve), recording all five of her double-figure scoring games as a starter. The New York native and former Washington Mystic scored a season-high 16 points in back-to-back games on August 23 and 28, both against Washington, and grabbed a season-high eight rebounds twice on the season.

Vaughn owns career averages of 6.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in 329 career games (164 starts). Originally the eighth overall pick of the 2009 WNBA Draft by the New York Liberty, Vaughn has seen stints with New York (2009-12, 2017-18), Washington (2013-16) and Phoenix (2020-21), and her teams have qualified for the playoffs in eight of those 11 years.

Vaughn is currently playing overseas in Turkey for Fenerbahce, averaging 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 14 Turkish League games, and 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in five Euro League games. The team currently sits atop the Turkish League standings at 18-0 and is 5-1 in EuroLeague play, placing them atop Group B of the EuroLeague standings.

Prior to her WNBA career, Vaughn was a standout at Rutgers under legendary head coach C. Vivian Stringer. She graduated as the program’s all-time leader in games played (135), second all-time in blocked shots (279) and rebounds (1,079). She was one of only four players in school history at the time to record more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a career and became the second Scarlet Knight to lead the team in rebounding in all four years on campus.