Stat Analysis: New York Liberty split the first two after the break

The New York Liberty welcomed back Plenette Pierson after the WNBA's break for the 2012 London Olympics. Photo by Debby Wong-US PRESSWIRE.

The New York Liberty opened the second half of their season with an impressive 79-66 victory over the Connecticut Sun on Thursday. The game was at the Prudential Center in Newark and preceded a road trip to the Nutmeg state just two days later.

At Mohegan Sun the result was quite the opposite. Coach John Whisenant's Liberty was on the wrong end of an 85-74 decision. Another Jekyll and Hyde two game showing by a Liberty club that has spent almost the entire season in search of consistency. The numbers, following the break, display the Liberty's stock market style fluctuation.

Thursday's breakdown:

Connecticut

New York

Possessions

76

75

Offensive Efficiency

87

105

eFG Pct.

45

49

FT Rate

6

7

OREB Pct.

36

25

TO Rate

22

8

PPWS

.930

1.01

The offensive rebounding area was again a weakness on the Liberty side of the ledger. Limiting Connecticut to 87 efficiency and forcing turnovers on over one fifth of their possessions more than compensated. On the New York side of the offense, the Liberty was outstanding with only six turnovers for an excellent 8% TO rate.

Stat oddity: Teams combined for just 10 free throw attempts. Connecticut was 4 of 5 (80%) while the Liberty were 5 of 6 (83#).

The scoring leaders and their efficiency:

Points

Efficiency

C. Pondexter, NY

24

21

Renee Montgomery, Ct.


16

10

Pondexter shot 9 of 23 from the floor but her efficiency was greatly enhanced by a 5 assist zero turnover effort.

Welcome back: Plenette Pierson returned to the Liberty lineup producing 16 points, 4 rebounds in 24 minutes. Pierson's efficiency was a healthy 15. Numbers aside, Pierson's return is significant if New York is to put together a second half run of any importance.

The results and numbers from Saturday:

Connecticut

New York

Possessions

88

84

Offensive Efficiency

97

88

eFG Pct.

50

56

FT Rate

20

16

OREB Pct.

19

22

TO Rate

15

31

PPWS

1.06

1.18

Well, the optimist can tell us the Liberty did improve in the rebounding end to win the battle of the offensive board. The reality is New York's offense took a -17 nose dive, efficiency wise, in just 48 hours. Connecticut improved by a +10. The answer is largely in the turnover column. The Sun committed just 13 for a better than average 15% rate. The Liberty lost the ball 26 times for a rate that virtually equaled one TO for every three possessions. Not a way to get efficient, nor win.

The Liberty ‘bigs' were most vulnerable in the TO department. Kara Braxton and Plenette Pierson shared the dubious honor of leading with five turnovers each while DeMya Walker added four.

The Liberty shot a solid eFG percentage largely due to a 50% mark of 9 for 18 from three point range.

The scoring leaders and their efficiency:

Points

Efficiency

T. Charles, CT.

23

17

C. Pondexter, NY

17

10

Pondexter shot 6 of 11 from the floor while handing out 5 assists against 3 turnovers for a creditable efficiency. Tina Charles, not only led all in scoring and rebounds with 9, but turned in an outstanding efficiency. Beside the points and rebounds as noted, Charles shot 11 of 17 from the floor and was not a liability with the ball, turning in a 2 assist, 2 turnover effort.

In guards we trust: A trite saying but the Sun did receive two very strong performances from Allison Hightower and Kara Lawson. Hightower scored 20 points with a 17 efficiency highlighted by three steals and two assists against just one lone turnover. Lawson added 21 points with an excellent 25 efficiency. The former Tennessee star was 9 of 14 from the floor and added 5 rebounds.

Now the Liberty take to the road for four more games. They will not return to the friendly confines of the "Rock" until August 30th. Surviving, and winning, on the road demands consistency. The Liberty are in urgent need of it. Making September a meaningful month is dependent on New York's performance on this trip.

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