Carson’s Game On The Rise

Essence Carson takes pride in her work.

And rightly so, seeing as the second year guard is given a daunting assignment each night.

"We always ask Essence to guard the best offensive player on the other team," explained head coach Pat Coyle. "She doesn't get enough credit and has been playing really well for us."

Carson's efforts may not always show up on the stats sheet or get displayed in the highlight reel, but she doesn't let that faze her. She's a woman on a mission.

That mission, to get better every game, has led her to putting up the best numbers of her career. With 10.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg and 1.4 spg through the first 15 games, the Liberty starter admits there is a difference in her game this summer that goes further than just statistical figures.

"I'm more aggressive," she said. "I'm trying to make myself a threat and help the other four players out on the court with me."

It wasn't just a WNBA season under her belt that helped her to be more aggressive and prepare for New York's 2009 campaign. She credits her off-season in Latvia and Italy as a huge contribution to the success she's experienced in her game.

"Playing overseas helped me a lot. I got a chance to work on a lot of things and it gave me a better experience and understanding." The overseas adventure included competing against players who were bigger, stronger and more experienced.

Playing for TTT Riga in the fall and early winter months, Carson averaged 14.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg and 3.5 spg in 11 match-ups. Following an extended holiday break stateside, she headed for Venice, Italy to compete for Umana Venezia from February through early May, where she appeared in 14 games, while averaging 9.0 ppg, 2.4 rpg and 2.0 apg.

This season, Carson's shooting percentages (.404 percent from the field, .326 percent from long range & a team-leading .920 percent from the charity stripe) are also on the rise. In 15 games, she has posted in double figures eight times already, which included a four-game stretch where she averaged 13.5 ppg. It was just eight times that she reached double digits in 34 games of her rookie season.

Could she be getting more looks at the basket because teams identify her more for her defensive abilities than those on the offensive end? "It could be a combination of both," said Carson. "But when teams do come out and play me, I am going to attack the basket."

As the halfway point of the season approaches, the Liberty will be looking for No. 17 to continue to improve her game to push the team back to the top of the Conference standings.

Catch the Liberty all summer long at Madison Square Garden. Tickets, beginning at $10, are on sale by clicking here, visiting The Garden Box Office or calling 877-WNBA-TIX.