New York City, NY - Indiana looked like the team playing on a day's rest. The New York Liberty showed no ill effects of having battled through and surviving the Washington Mystics just 24 hours earlier. The Liberty posted a convincing 84-67 victory at Madison Square Garden. They lead the Eastern Conference finals 1-0 with game two Sunday in Indiana. The numbers of note.....
Offensive efficiency: Indiana 96, New York 120
eFG pct: Indiana 49, New York 63
FT rate: Indiana 22, New York 13
OREB pct: Indiana 31, New York 35
TO rate: Indiana 20, New York 19
What Indiana did well: Get a quality effort from reserve players. Statistically not much went the Fever way. A bright spot was the reserve players getting ample time and using it to their best ability.
"I'm proud of them," Tamika Catchings of the Fever said regarding the second unit. "They played hard and never gave up."
What the Liberty did well...Besides dominating the stat sheet, they came out with intensity and focus that pleasantly surprised coach Bill Laimbeer. "We had to win the first five minutes of each half and did," he said. The high TO rate the Fever was forced into, also translated to 20 Liberty points.
Indiana coach Stephanie White is hoping to have injured Lynette Kizer back Sunday. "She (Kizer) gives us size but can move to the perimeter as well," White said. "Plus her experience on defense in invaluable."
Liberty shot a torrid 8 of 14 (57%) from beyond the arc. Add to that the inside play of Tina Charles and Kiah Stokes and you have a tough combination to defend. Expertise on the perimeter and in the paint adding to an outstanding 120 offensive efficiency.
The leading scorers and efficiency:
Indiana: Shenise Johnson 12 points (16 efficiency), Tamika Catchings 9 points (5 efficiency), Shavonte Zellous 9 points (10 efficiency).
NY Liberty: Kiah Stokes 21 points (27 efficiency), Tina Charles 18 points, (29 efficiency).
Both coaches spoke of Tina Charles' 36 minutes of excellence. How she imposed her will on this contest and she may be or soon be the best player, not in the WNBA but the world. Charles scored 18 points, grabbed 7 boards and handed out 9 assists against zero turnovers. "She (Charles) has added to her game every year," Indiana coach Stephanie White said. "Nine assists, she is just a great passer out of the post."
Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer agreed with the assessment adding, "Her (Charles) defense was outstanding tonight. Her defense has been great all season."
Charles was flattered on being informed of the remarks. She did say
playing overseas in the WNBA off season can hamper player development. "I will play in China after the (WNBA) season," she said. I'll be done in February then come back to work on my game. You need that."
The aforementioned bench performance of Indiana was led by Shavonte Zellous with a 9 point 5 rebound outing.
The game had four ties, no lead changes.
"New York had a great effort on the offensive end. You know they bring it in defense but tonight they made shots, forced turnovers and did what they had to do from start to finish." - Indiana coach Stephanie White
"Tina (Charles) sat down next to me during warmups and said ‘coach I'm not tired don't take me out based on minutes.' I said no problem." - Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer