New York Liberty's defense, rebounding key to wins against Tulsa Shock, Minnesota Lynx

The New York Liberty have won three games in a row for the first time since September 2012. The numbers show that rebounding was a significant factor.

NEW YORK CITY- In the stat analysis the key number for the New York Liberty was two: two games, two wins for the week.

Victories over Tulsa and Minnesota marked four of the last five in the win column for New York. The rebounding rate was very impressive both times out, unsurprising since defense and rebounding are keys for the defensive minded Liberty.

Credit the defense against Tulsa

The New York Liberty made it two straight defeating Tulsa 90-74 on Tuesday. The Madison Square Garden matchup saw the hosts impose their will on the defensive side. Not as much in forcing turnovers. Rather, the emphasis was on good solid defense - contesting shots and limiting good opportunities.

The numbers of note:

Tulsa

NY Liberty

Possessions

76

81

Offensive Efficiency

98

111

eFG

45

55

FT Rate

25

32

OREB Pct

25

43

TO Rate

12

17

A solid shooting night from the field and the ability to draw fouls (FT Rate) highlighted the Liberty offense. The efficiency, to little surprise given the eFG and FT Rate, was outstanding.

Offensive efficiency beats Minnesota

The Liberty got three in a row with a nice 87-80 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

The numbers:

Minnesota

NY Liberty

Possessions

80

81

Offensive Efficiency

100

107

eFG

48

52

FT Rate

24

20

OREB Pct

26

31

TO Rate

14

16

The efficiency is a very good indicator of the offensive performance as is a fine eFG mark. Turnover rate for the second straight time, under 20%. The dreaded TOs are not as much a problem this year, at least in sheer numbers. They still can be a problem appearing at most inopportune times, as in the last few minutes.

Anna Cruz enjoys a defensive challenge. She had one in Lindsay Whalen of the Lynx. Whalen scored 13 points but shot only 5 of 15 from the floor. Cruz called Whalen, "a great player and very difficult assignment." It may be Cruz's first year in the W but she is well aware of Whalen.

"I faced her in tournaments overseas when I played for Spain," Cruz said. "I knew about her from those tournaments and knew how good she is."

Tina Charles' past meets present

On a night when Tina Charles was the story, it was fitting that one of the people responsible for shaping her as a person and player was given a moment in the spotlight.

Honored during a time out was Cecil King. A New York Gazelles coach, King was honored for his dedication and devotion to basketball and the youth involved in the game. Yours truly officiated with King about two years ago. At the time I found out he coached Charles with the Gazelles and subsequently wrote a Swish Appeal story on that. He was awarded a jersey by Liberty legend Kym Hampton. A richly deserved award indeed.

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