The Liberty almost dropped a home game against the Storm on Tuesday, but an impressive defensive performance earned them a victory.
NEW YORK CITY– The New York Liberty rallied from a seven point deficit the final three and a half minutes to edge Seattle. The 80-74 victory over the Storm at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday had he tone set on the defensive end.
The numbers of note:
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer noted how his club outrebounded and won the turnover battle. Seattle ‘outshot’ the Liberty but did not exactly scorch the nets. Chalk it up to a situation of sub par offense on the part of the home team. Something Laimbeer addressed post game.
The defensive efficiency of 81 as allowed by New York was outstanding. Forcing Seattle into a 23% turnover rate was a contributing factor. On their end, the Liberty TO rate was an outstanding 15%. Remember this was a turnover plagued team a year ago constantly turning in 20%-plus TO rate numbers, or shall we say nightmares.
Pre-game we talked about efficiency hindering guards. On the evening Sue Bird led all scorers with 21 points. She was a viable threat keeping the Liberty scrambling until some defensive pressure courtesy of Sugar Rodgers slowed her down the final tem minutes. Crysatl Langhrne added 13 points and a game high 15 boards.
Bird knocked down three trifectas but shot 8-for-20 with 1 rebound, an assist and 3 turnovers. Langhorne, as noted, had 15 rebounds. Operating closer in, she lost less in the efficiency points category than Bird with a 5 of 8 showing from the field. Only a 4 turnover night hindered the 6-2 Langhorne from reaching a higher efficiency.
Tina Charles led New York with 15 points and 14 rebounds. Charles also was the efficiency leader with 18. Again, a 6 of 18 shooting performance limited the efficiency. Expect the field goal numbers to improve as Laimbeer, moving ahead, wants less perimeter and virtually all looks on the blocks from Charles.
Rodgers with 15 points and no turnovers turned in a nice 15 efficiency in 23 minutes off the bench. A vital 23 minutes as she provided an offensive spurt while, as noted, closely defending Bird at crunch time.
New York is now 2-2 while Seattle falls to 1-4.