Statistical Summary: Atlanta Dream, L.A. Sparks Win Preseason Openers

Most of us couldn't see the WNBA's preseason openers yesterday and as of this morning, we don't yet have a boxscore for the Indiana Fever - San Antonio Silver Stars game.

There's not too much we can say about these games - and really, as preseason games there's probably not much we would want to read into anyway - but the league has made game books, quotes, and shot charts available for the games. So we can at least present a reasonably solid statistical summary of the games that we do have stats for.

The Statistical Summary Framework

These statistical summaries were put together in the same way I used to put together statistical summaries when I covered Seattle Storm games in person. Click here for more on how the key players and stats were determined.

Atlanta Dream 91, Tulsa Shock 89

Notable players who did not play:

  • Dream: Yelena Leuchenka, Sancho Lyttle, Angel McCoughtry, Erika de Souza
  • Shock: Chante Black, Liz Cambage, Temeka Johnson

Statistical summary:

  • Atlanta MVP: Laurie Koehn was 7-for-9 from the 3-point line, which is a ridiculous true shooting percentage of 116.66% in case you're interested. She led the Dream with 21 points.
  • Tulsa MVP: Ivory Latta led the Shock with 18 points, but also had a pretty good all around game. She had a true shooting percentage of 63.38% primarily on the strength of a 41.66% free throw rate, which shows some aggression in getting to the basket. Her 4 assists and 2 turnovers in just over 23 minutes gave her a pure point rating of 2.89.
  • Key player: Courtney Paris tied Lindsey Harding for the second-highest scoring output on the team with 11 points to go with an impressive team-high 27.52% defensive rebounding percentage (5 defensive rebounds).
  • Key statistic: offensive rebounding was the only one of the Four Factors that the Dream established an advantage in, albeit a relatively small one (34.15% - 31.58%). Both Latta and new Tulsa head coach Gary Kloppenburg said after the game that rebounding was their biggest problem, but if that's so they might be in better shape than we think this year: they got beat 6 - 3 on the offensive boards in the first quarter (43%-27%), but they held the Dream to one offensive board in the second quarter and then proceeded to win the offensive rebounding battle by a small margin in the second half (8-7). In other words, the Shock appeared to play relatively well and might have pulled this one out had Koehn not caught fire from deep.

Los Angeles Sparks 98, Chinese National Team 71

Notable players who did not play:

  • Sparks: Alana Beard, Jantel Lavender, DeLisha Milton-Jones, Jenna O'Hea, Candace Parker
  • China: Chen Nan (former Chicago Sky center)

Statistical summary:

  • L.A. MVP: Nneka Ogwumike put up the same kind of numbers Pac-12 fans have grown accustomed to with game-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds. It's almost hard to believe that she had a 53.06% defensive rebounding percentage in her 25 minutes of play, but she had 9 defensive rebounds and China only had 7 offensive rebounds total.
  • Key player: Marissa Coleman also brought the energy on the boards, finishing with an offensive rebounding percentage of 16.04%. She also complemented Ogwumike's scoring with 15 points of her own and was both consistent and efficient, scoring almost the same number of points every quarter until sitting for most of the fourth and finishing 7-for-10 (75% true shooting percentage). Although she didn't get many free throw attempts, she did the bulk of her scoring right around the basket.
  • Mcoleman_sc_050512_medium
    Marissa Coleman's shot chart vs. China

  • Key statistic: shooting efficiency ended up being the most significant statistic in the game despite the Sparks' rebounding dominance. During a 31-16 third quarter that essentially put the game out of reach, the Sparks had an effective field goal percentage of 73.53% and held China to 35.29%.
  • China MVP: Wei Wei was the one player for China who did rebound, hauling in a team-high 10 rebounds to go with a team-high 5 assists and 8 points.

Were you at the game? Feel free to add your observations in the comments.

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