NEWARK, NJ - At the end of the first quarter the Liberty trailed Minnesota 31-21. It was not a sterling defensive performance to say the least. The first four minutes breakdown follows the jump.
Score Poss. Efficiency
Minnesota 17 7 243
NY Liberty 10 7 143
Granted, the visiting Lynx didn't start as a defensive juggernaut, but a 243 efficiency is impressive. Explanation follows. In the first four minutes Minnesota canned five treys. Maya Moore had three and Seimone Augusts a pair. The Liberty were concerned with clogging the middle to stop penetration and the Minnesota inside game. Problem was the defenders were very slow closing to shooters on the wing who got great looks and buried them. Not waiting for percentages to catch up Liberty coach John Whisenant adjusted by getting defenders a little more out on the perimeter to stop the uncontested looks. Results at the quarter:
Score Poss Efficiency
Minnesota 31 17 143
NY Liberty 21 17 117
Well, 143 IS an improvement over 243 but it will not win you a lot of games, if any. The thing keeping the Liberty in the contests was Minnesota's own defensive issues. The Lynx entered the game with a 92 defensive efficiency and as noted, were not near that the first ten minutes.
The teams combined for one turnover the first quarter. While the Liberty's .06 TO rate is phenomenal, it's another indicator the respective defenses were indeed resting.