Those of us studying and utilizing tempo-free stats love it when a coach or player lauds a defensive (or offensive effort). A quick look at the possessions and points to give us offensive efficiency, tells us more - just because you held a team to 49 points does not mean the defense was great. What if it were a 55 possession contest? In the case of the New York Liberty's 59-49 victory over the Chicago Sky on Thursday afternoon, the defense did anything but rest.
Exhibit A : The possessions and efficiency
Possessions Offensive Efficiency
Chicago 70 70
NY 74 80
The Sky did not do a bad job on their defensive end, but John Whisenant's Liberty was in lock-down mode holding the Windy City reps to an offensive rating of 70.
Whisenant said last week he expected and sees his team getting better defensively as the season wears on. It is simply a case of his personnel learning and getting comfortable with his defensive 'package' or system. Playing your best defense as playoff time rolls around is everyone's objective.
The Four Factors:
eFG FT Rate OREB Pct TO Rate
Chicago 35 23 34 31
NY 41 11 29 20
As has been the case very frequently this season, the Liberty were out-rebounded on the offensive end. But not enough to have a big difference as the numbers further attest to their defensive excellence. Chicago was forced into an absurdly high 31% turnover rate. That, coupled with a 35% effective field goal mark (1 of 9 from three did not help) spelled doom.
The Sky did have an edge on the line. They shot 17 free throw attempts to the Liberty's eight. Again, chalk some of that up to the home team's defensive intensity. When you play tough defense there is the chance of committing aggressive fouls. You want to avoid fouling, but here the Liberty did not do anything to hurt themselves with a little extra fouling.
Added defensive notes: Sylvia Fowles was the lone visiting player in double figures. Fowles scored 11 points on 5 of 8 shooting from the floor. In fact, she was the only Chicago player, with 5 or more field goal attempts, that exceeded 50% shooting.
The Sky were held to single digit scoring in two quarters. They scored 8 the second period and one, yes one, in the final ten minutes of the game.
Points and Win scores :
The respective leaders....
Sylvia Fowles, Chi 11 10
Cappie pondexter, NY 15 1
Nicole Powell, NY 13 1.5
Fowles helped her case not only with her 5-of-8 shooting but 8 rebounds and only one turnover. Powell led all rebounders with ten. A 5-of-16 shooting afternoon coupled with 4 turnovers affected the Win Score. Pondexter earned scoring accolades but her 6 of 16 from the field and a 3 assist, 2 turnover performance also decreased the WS.
Records: Chicago is now 9-12 while the Liberty improved to 12-8.
Attendance was 10,133 on Camp Day.