White Plains, NY — At 7-21, the New York Liberty faced a daunting task. They entertained the LA Sparks at Westchester County Center on Wednesday. The Sparks entered with a 17-11 record, and on paper appeared to be a strong favorite. But as the cliche’ goes, games are decided on the floor not paper.
A few numbers of note in a tough 82-81 victory by LA:
- The Liberty went into the halftime break tied at 41. The Sparks had 40 possessions to the 37 of New York. Offensive efficiency was decidedly in the Liberty’s favor — 111 to 103.
- Noticeable among the Four Factors in the opening 20 minutes was offensive rebounding percentage. Coach Katie Smith’s Liberty held a 35 to 16 edge in OREB%. That allowed them to extend possessions and enjoy the opportunity of getting a great second shot or resetting the offense for a better look.
- The Liberty could not hold on. A situation that has plagued them virtually all season: give a good effort, and have one bad quarter wipe it out. Too often that quarter, as it did Wednesday, rears its ugly head in the second half. Taking a 66-61 lead into the final period, New York came up short.
- The team ‘winning’ offensive efficiency tends to win the game about 96-98% of the time. In this season of struggles and sometimes just bad luck, the Liberty fell into the 2-4% bracket. Offensive efficiency: NY 106, LA 105.
- Liberty dominated the OREB numbers for the game, with a 33-19 edge. They were amiss in turnover percentage with a 17% rate to the 13% of the Sparks. The points off turnovers were 16-11 in LA’s favor. Not astronomical but a difference in a one possession affair.
After the game, the Sparks stand at 18-11, while the Liberty fall to 7-22. Tina Charles was the leading scorer with 27 points, while Chelsea Gray led the Sparks with 19. Gray not only led the way in scoring for LA but a fair amount of those points were at very opportune times. Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points for LA. Of greater importance were her four free throws in the waning seconds that ended up icing it for the visiting Sparks.