New York City, NY - They needed five extra minutes. In the end, the result was similar to those in recent contests. The New York Liberty, now 21-8, edged the Atlanta Dream 80-75 at Madison Square Garden. Tuesday's battle saw the visiting Dream fighting for their collective playoff lives only to drop a heartbreaker. The numbers of note:
Possessions: Atlanta 84, New York 84
Offensive efficiency: Atlanta 89, New York 95
eFG percentage: Atlanta 46, New York 43
FT Rate: Atlanta 19, New York 37
OREB percentage: Atlanta 24, New York 32
TO Rate: Atlanta 18, New York 17
What the Dream did well. Compete and score in the lane. They entered MSG 11-18 but fought hard in a game with 11 lead changes and 12 ties. They also held a 36-30 advantage over the Liberty in points in the paint. Interior defense is normally to the Liberty's advantage.
What the Liberty did well. Show resilience. They fell behind by 10 in the third quarter yet battled back to force OT and take over in the added session. "We did not play well nor did we play bad," said Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer. "Atlanta played very well, and they are a better team than their record indicates."
Scoring leaders: Atlanta, Angel McCoughtry 25 points, Tiffany Hayes 15.
New York: Sugar Rodgers 23 points, Tina Charles 17
Kiah Stokes, NY 25
Angel McCoughtry, Atlanta 22
Sugar Rodgers, NY 19
Tiffany Hayes, Atlanta 19
Stokes logged 35 minutes scoring 10 points on a perfect 5 of 5 from the floor. The Liberty rookie added a game-high seven rebounds, four blocks, and four steals in a complete effort. An effort the Liberty needed to pull this one out.
Rodgers handed out four assists while shooting 5 of 12 from long range. She too was instrumental in the victory.
McCoughtry shot 9 of 16 from the floor, but her efficiency was hampered by a game-high five turnovers. Hayes handed out a game-high six assists with zero turnovers.
Better defense. As noted in a pre-game Fanpost, the Liberty are holding opponents under 90 in offensive efficiency. At the half, Atlanta trailed by four but had put up a 106 OE on the Liberty. The second half and overtime, New York tightened things up forcing Atlanta into a 78 offensive efficiency for those 25 minutes.
Once again the Liberty rebounded well, ‘winning' the offensive rebounding percentage battle. It helped give New York a significant 15-4 edge in second chance points. Crucial numbers in a hotly contested game as this.
"She is our glue. She does everything asked of her, and now she's developing some nice post moves. As a result, her offense is getting better as the season goes on." - Bill Laimbeer on Liberty rookie Kiah Stokes