New York City, NY - When it was time to dig in and respond, they did. The New York Liberty used a strong second half run to defeat the Atlanta Dream on Friday. The 78-67 victory at Madison Square Garden improved New York to 18-7 while Atlanta, dropping a must game, fell to 9-18.
Once again it was the defense of New York coming through in a significant manner.
Atlanta New York
Possessions 80 84
Offensive Efficiency 84 105
While the defense of New York was excellent, chalk one up for the offense. Despite a 22% turnover rate, a cause of concern to be addressed next practice, the Liberty posted a strong efficiency largely due to a 52% eFG percentage.
What Atlanta did well...Compete. Trailing by one at the half the Dram opened the second half strong. They put together a run that saw them fashion a nine-point lead.
What New York did well...Come back and rebound. That nine-point edge alluded to was eliminated primarily due to insertion of Brittany Boyd at the point and the dominant play of Tina Charles.
Rebounding, a Liberty weakness through this campaign, saw them own a 42-29 advantage in offensive rebounding percentage. "Our rebounding was outstanding," Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer said. "And we did that against a good, physical rebounding team in a game with a playoff atmosphere."
Leading scorers and efficiency:
Atlanta: Tiffany Hayes 17 points, 10 efficiency
New York: Tina Charles 25 points, 23 efficiency
Atlanta star Angel McCoughtry, a 20-point per game scorer, was held to 13 points. McCoughtry had seven at the half but did not enter the scoring column in the second half until just under six minutes remained, and the Liberty enjoyed a lead they would not relinquish.
Laimbeer stayed with the traditional ‘coach speak' when asked how far this club may go. "We haven't won anything yet," he said. "We haven't qualified for postseason, we haven't clinched home court, we still have nine games left and a lot of work to do."
Still, one must admit, the Liberty are in a position many teams in the ‘W' would love to be in- on the top of the East and showing outstanding defense and chemistry.