05 October, 2016
12 April, 2017
17 Essence Tiffany Carson (Yakin Dogu Universitesi) (photo: Lubomira Istonova)
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Carson keeping Yakin Dogu Universitesi in tune

ISTANBUL (EuroCup Women) – Long before reaching the EuroCup Women Final in their rookie season, Yakin Dogu Universitesi were turning heads by capturing the likes of reigning WNBA champion Essence Carson.

As the ambitious Turkish side assembled their roster heading into what is their first foray into the competition, there was a sense that they might have the personnel to mean business.

Now, just two legs away from lifting the prestigious silverware at the first attempt, Carson believes that, despite being newcomers as a club, they have the right ingredients to see the job through when they take on Bellona Agu. Especially after evidencing their class at the top of the high-level Turkish League by delivering a maiden Turkish Cup victory.

She is also looking to add to her individual honors list after getting that WNBA Championship ring on her finger and another trophy would complete quite a turnaround for a player who had had to cope with some major setbacks.

"The past seven to eight months have been remarkable," explained Carson, who will line-up in the title game against another Turkish side in Bellona Agu.

"After returning from injury a couple years ago, I had to restructure my goals a bit. My focus became so fine and narrow, that I don't believe anything could deter me from achieving what I set out to do – and, it's an amazing feeling.

"Having the opportunity to be a part of another amazing team and season [off the back of my time with the Los Angeles Sparks] is great.

"We aren't there yet, but we have two games left to get it done. Our management, the players, and all the fans are all on the same page."

She continued: "The Turkish League has been very competitive for years - many great players have come through this league and will continue to do so.

"As a whole, Turkey has the most competitive league right now. On any given night, any team can beat you. You never have an easy game. As a true competitor, you must appreciate that.

"We have a great group of veterans that have experience on every level, while even more importantly, we have a group of women that just want to win."

Carson has another reason for wanting to take silverware and that is to continue the basketball rivalry between herself and her younger brother Shaquille, who is playing professionally in South America.

"When we were younger, my brother could never beat me," smiled the 30-year-old.

"Since then, he's grown a good eight inches and we haven't played since he's gotten much bigger than me, but I do let him know that he still can't beat me.

"I'd have to use my experience to pull out that victory.

"He's done pretty well for himself and I can't wait to see what the future holds for him. I think he deserves the world," stressed Carson.

Meanwhile, if her basketball doesn't give her the joy she would like, there is also her other passion which can pick up the slack.

"Music has been in my life since I've been nine-years-old," revealed Carson, who has produced her own album and goes by the artist name Pr3pE.

"I've learned to balance basketball and music, since that is what ultimately makes me happy.

"Right now, I'm working on another music project and I'm really taking my time with this one, because I believe it has the potential to be special.

"And, as long as I keep winning, then I guess I'm doing a pretty good job at balancing the two," concluded the New Jersey native.

Carson and Yakin Dogu Universitesi will face Bellona Agu in the first leg of the 2017 EuroCup Women Final in Kayseri on Wednesday April 5, with the second game in Istanbul a week later.