NEWARK, NJ - These numbers are on the defensive side. No surprise as the New York Liberty edged the Seattle Storm 58-56 in a battle at the Prudential Center that was not decided until the final possession. Despite giving the home team a few early leads, visiting Seattle would not go away. The possession/efficiency numbers follow the jump.
Possessions Offensive Efficiency
Seattle 78 72
NY Liberty 73 80
Seattle entered the game averaging 93 on the offensive end so the Liberty did their job on defense in impressive fashion. Liberty coach John Whisenant noted the Storm plays at more of a deliberate pace. Entering the game Seattle was averaging 77 possessions per game so the tempo was definitely to their liking. On the defensive end the Storm did a very good job as well. A big reason this game saw 5 lead changes, 7 ties and was in doubt until the final buzzer.
The Four Factors:
eFG FT Rate OREB Pct TO Rate
Seattle 37 9 32 23
NY Liberty 43 10 26 18
On the white board in the Liberty locker room next to the points of emphasis was the message 'rebound, rebound, rebound'. The Liberty lost the battle of the offensive boards once again. Given the job they did on field goal defense, keeping Seattle off the line and forcing turnovers, the board disparity was not significant. Still, a better rebounding team is something Whisenant is striving for on a daily basis.
Seattle runs a lot of four out one inside on the offensive end. They do a nice job getting the ball in the hands of the shooters as S Bird and Katie Smith. Overall the Storm shot 8-of-21 from three. Of greater importance was the fact they were only 3 of 11 the second half. Bird had a few too much uncontested looks he first twenty minutes. The Liberty offense did a nice job adjusting the final half.
The turnover rate actually 'improved' for Seattle the final half. The first two quarters saw a 29% TO Rate from the visitors. In fact the first four minutes of the game were a premonition of missed possessions.
Possessions Score Offensive Efficiency TO
Seattle 9 7 129 4
NY Liberty 9 7 129 2
For the record, the four turnovers represents a 44% TO Rate. Not how you want to start a game, especially on the road.
Interestingly there were a combined 13 blocked shots. Seattle had 5, the Liberty 8. The co-leaders were Storm center Ashley Robinson and Liberty guard Essence Carson with three including a big last second rejection on a potential game tying shot by Sue Bird.
The perimeter oriented Storm did not shoot a free throw the first half and were 6 of 7 from the line for the game. Thirty one percent (21) of their 68 field goal attempts were from three point land.
The double figure scorers and their Win Scores:
Capie Pondexter, NY 19 4.5
Sue Bird, Seattle 17 3
Tanisha Wright, Seattle 11 1
Katie Smith, Seattle 11 6
Plenette Pierson, NY 10 7.5
Bird's final shooting line of 6 of 18 from the field coupled with 3 turnovers resulted in a less than spectacular Win Score. Pierson shot 4 of 11 but did add the game high 8 rebounds and blocked two shots for a solid Win Score. Smith shot 4 of 8 and provided a fair part of the Storm's last quarter offense with 5 points. She also had three rebounds and two steals against only two turnovers.
The Records: NY is now 13-9 while Seattle falls to 12-10
Attendance was 6,732 with the Rock a splendid representation of pink. A wonderful way to remember Breast Health Awareness, a cause that is very meaningful to all of us.