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How the Liberty beat the Sky again

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The New York Liberty won fairly easily against the Chicago Sky. It's their third victory this season over the Sky, and the numbers from Tuesday's contest show why.

Photo by Ray Floriani

New York City, NY - Two days ago the Chicago Sky had two things in defeating the Phoenix Mercury: Home court and Elena Delle Donne. Tonight they had neither as the New York Liberty defeated the Sky 84-63. Pre-game notes listed Delle Donne as a ‘probable' starter.

The team injury report cited nothing to report. Delle Donne did not play a minute, as she was sitting out with a left ankle injury. Regardless, the Liberty did face a challenge. The Four Factors:

eFG

FT Rate

OREB Pct

TO Rate

Chicago

43

7

22

21

NY Liberty

55

22

23

18

A 38-28 edge in points in the paint was responsible for the Liberty's higher eFG mark and free throw rate. Get in the paint and good things, as higher percentage shots and drawing fouls, happen.

Laimbeer lamented about the team's defense the first half. "It looked like we were just trying to outshoot them," he said. "We talked about getting back to good defense as we know it the second half." A half breakdown shows the Liberty had a better than average ‘D' the first half. The second it was outstanding.

Efficiency by halves:

1st 2nd Game

Chicago               88               68               78

New York            113             100             106

Game possessions: Chicago 81, New York 79

The Liberty faced a challenge early in the second half. A nine-point lead at intermission was cut to one possession in those early minutes. The Sky never drew even, and the Liberty were on their way. "In those first four minutes of the second half they (Chicago) missed a few shots, and fortunately we rebounded," Laimbeer said.

While the Liberty mentor praised a defensive effort holding Chicago to 41% field goal shooting, the eFG and defensive efficiency numbers were both very impressive. "It's who we are," Laimbeer said. ‘We play solid defense, take pride in our defense and really turned up the intensity the second half."

On a night Tina Charles struggled (4 points on 2 of 10 shooting and an efficiency of 6) the Liberty were able to win going away. A favorable sign, though Laimbeer would want Charles' offense, and she did add eight boards. Epiphanny Prince scored 22 points, to lead New York. She also added a team-high 23 in the efficiency category.

Chicago, very guard/wing oriented, saw Cappie Pondexter return to MSG to lead all scorers with 23 points. Her efficiency of 16 led Chicago while Courtney Vandersloot added an efficiency of 15 largely due to a game high 9 assist evening.

Ten of eleven Liberty players who saw action scored. "Naturally players want minutes and shots, but here we have a good group," Laimbeer said. "Winning goes a long way toward curing those ailments (demanding playing time and ‘touches')."

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was in attendance to see former players on both teams. On the Liberty she said, "They do have great chemistry. Talking with Epiphanny (Prince) I know they care for each other, and they just have that outstanding chemistry you need to be a great team."

Stringer was told a few weeks ago that Laimbeer said he wanted Prince to shoot more. "We wanted her (Prince) to shoot at Rutgers," Stringer said. "But do you know, in our championship game against Tennessee (2008) she did not attempt a shot. Not one, you could look it up."

Allie Quigley of the Sky played for the well respected and outstanding coach Doug Bruno at DePaul. Playing for Bruno Quigley learned, "the all-important little things. The fundamentals that are so important to make you better."

On the WNBA in this her seventh year. "It's the best (women's basketball) league in the world," Quigley said. "It just gets better and more competitive every year. In the past it was physical with the bigs, now guard play is physical as well."

Chicago dropped to 14-10 while the Liberty are now an Eastern Conference leading 15-6.