Erin Thorn, New York Liberty

Liberty guard Erin Thorn has been hot from 3-point range so far this season, hitting at a 68.8% rate through two games.
David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images
May 29, 2007 -- Throughout the season, we will look at some of the WNBA's emerging talent and the candidates for the WNBA Most Improved Player award. Previous winners include Sacramento's Nicole Powell, Houston's Michelle Snow and Coco and Kelly Miller. It could be more playing time, offseason work or even a new team that spurs this kind of advancement, but no matter the reason, the player will have shown major improvement over previous seasons.

Erin Thorn of the New York Liberty fits the description to a T. After four seasons of being little more than a fringe player for the Liberty, never averaging more than 14 minutes a game, she has stepped up her game in a big way through the first two games of 2007.

After being handed a starting role when the Liberty traded Becky Hammon at the 2007 Draft and when coach Pat Coyle was less than impressed in camp by second-year guard Sherill Baker, Thorn scored 28 points in the team's win in their opener against Chicago. Thorn then followed it up with a 17-point performance Thursday in a victory over Washington.

But the biggest improvement has come from beyond the 3-point arc. Thorn went 7-10 in the Liberty's opener and was 4-6 against the Mystics, a 68.8% clip. In her previous four seasons, she combined to hit only 34.8% from 3-point range.

"It was nice," Thorn told the Herald News about her hot shooting. "(But) it is more important to win games. If I am not hitting those shots, I want someone else out there hitting those shots."

"We upset some people," Coyle said (in an interview with Newsday) about trading Hammon, the team's star, "but hopefully with the way this team plays and how hard they play, we will get those people back and more."

"We're a young team," Thorn agreed, "and we're learning together."

Thorn's season is only two games old, but if she keeps up this pace from long distance, a Most Improved Player award could be within sight.

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