PHOENIX – The three-time WNBA Champion Phoenix Mercury today announced the signing of free agent wing Essence Carson, an 11-year WNBA veteran who won a championship with the 2016 Los Angeles Sparks.
“Essence was one of our top targets when free agency began and we are excited to welcome her to the Mercury family,” said Mercury General Manager Jim Pitman. “She is an established starter in this league with championship experience, who instantly makes us better and deeper. She can play and guard multiple positions, and she is a legitimate three-point threat whose skillset perfectly complements our Big Three.”
A former All-Star (2011) whose teams have qualified for the playoffs in eight of her 11 career seasons (including four consecutive), Carson is a two-time WNBA Finalist, including the 2016 title with the Sparks when she started all 43 of the team’s regular and postseason games. Carson joins the Mercury, her third WNBA squad, after three years in Los Angeles in which she shot a combined 34.1 percent (71-of-208) from three-point range, including a career-high 39 makes a season ago while shooting 36.1 percent, the second-best mark of her career.
Carson joins a Mercury roster laden with three-point threats, including four players who, like her, made 30-plus three-pointers a season ago. No WNBA team in 2018 had five players on its roster that made 30 or more threes. Carson also joins a Mercury squad that led the league in percentage of shots from beyond the arc in 2018 (39.97 percent) to space the floor around Brittney Griner, the game’s most dominant low-post scoring threat.
Originally the seventh overall selection in the 2008 WNBA Draft by New York, Carson owns career averages of 7.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 323 games. The 6-0 guard played her first eight seasons with the Liberty, where she posted a breakout season in 2011, averaging 11.3 points and shooting a career-best 38.7 percent (24-of-62) from three-point range en route to being voted a WNBA All-Star that summer.
A native of Paterson, N.J., Carson was a four-year standout at Rutgers University where she helped guide the team to the NCAA Tournament in each of her first three seasons. Carson was named the Big East Defensive Player of the Year in three consecutive seasons and was also named to either the First or Second All-Big East Team in each of those seasons. In her junior campaign, she helped guide Rutgers to the 2007 National Championship game against Tennessee.
After coming within one win of a trip to the WNBA Finals, the Phoenix Mercury return in 2019 in search of a league-record tying fourth WNBA title. Led by the All-Star trio of Diana Taurasi, Brittney Griner and DeWanna Bonner, Phoenix opens its title quest on May 25 at Seattle on ABC. Tickets for Fry’s Food Stores Opening Night on Friday, May 31, at Talking Stick Resort Arena can be purchased by calling 602.252.WNBA or by visiting PhoenixMercury.com.