Liberty Loses It’s Essence, Carson Signs With LA Sparks
The news came as a shock to New York basketball. Essence Carson, the seventh best scorer in Liberty history, is gone.
The city girl from Paterson, New Jersey was a New York fixture. She played her college ball at Rutgers and all eight of her professional seasons in the WNBA with the New York Liberty.
The Los Angeles Sparks suddenly found themselves with a need at the guard spot when their new acquisition, Riquna Williams, ruptured her left achilles yesterday in Abu Dhabi. Carson, a free agent, who had not been locked up by the Liberty, saw an opportunity.
“After spending my entire career in New York City, I felt this change was needed,” Essence responded. “Competing for a championship with an opportunity to contribute are my priorities and Los Angeles fit the bill.”
Essence was drafted seventh overall by the Liberty in 2008 and was one of the major reasons New York qualified for three Eastern Conference Finals during that stretch. She was named an All-Star in 2011. But it was her WNBA community work that showed the deeply human side of this athletic marvel which garnered her two awards from State Farm, the second last season which was personally witnessed by this reporter at the Hospital for Special Surgeries.
This place is significant because it represented the frustration of that June day in 2013 when she tore her anterior cruciate ligament. It took nearly two years for her to regain her previous form and the Liberty, minus a player who could score and create her own shots was never replaced adequately.
The return of her old skills and leadership in the locker room helped the Liberty to a remarkable season which saw them fall one game short of the WNBA Finals. Los Angeles coach Brian Agler was pleased to find a veteran all-around talent in Carson available at all. It didn’t hurt that Essence is tearing up the Turkish League to the tune of 14.5 points a game for Canik Belediyesi.
“She is playing well and I have always appreciated her ability to play the game with consistency, competitiveness, and toughness,” Agler noted. “She will boost our efficiency at both ends of the court.”
For the Liberty, it appears they are a step behind as they have lost Candice Wiggins to retirement and now lose a major piece in Carson, still only 29. Team President Isiah Thomas is going to have to get creative to fill this hole that limits their depth and experience and in a word, essence, which may come back to haunt them in 2016.
For this observer, fans, and teammates, we also lost a friend.
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