Bill Laimbeer meets media following Liberty's loss to Minnesota. (Photo by Ray Floriani/Daly Dose Of Hoops)
By Ray Floriani (@rfloriani)
NEW YORK -- The final box told us there were five lead changes and four ties. In a way, that report was a bit deceptive.
Following a competitive first half, the Minnesota Lynx struck early in the third quarter. The result was a resounding 90-71 victory over the New York Liberty at Madison Square Garden. Minnesota is 2-0 while the Liberty fell to 1-1. The final numbers read as follows:
Possessions: Minnesota 86, New York 81
Offensive Efficiency: Minnesota 105, New York 88
Effective field goal percentage: Minnesota 52, New York 40
Free throw rate: Minnesota 34, New York 31
Offensive rebound percentage: Minnesota 19, New York 21
Turnover rate: Minnesota 13, New York 14
NOTES: At halftime, Minnesota led 43-40. The Lynx had 45 possessions through the opening stanza, compared to the Liberty’s 39. The offensive efficiencies at the intermission were relatively close, with the host Liberty averaging 103, just seven markers ahead of the Lynx and their 96 rating.
Going over the century mark on offense is impressive. For Liberty coach Bill Laimbeer, the emphasis was on a defensive metric all too close to those triple figures.
Minnesota won the first four minutes of the second half. The Lynx put together a 10-7 run in that stretch to take a six-point lead. New York actually grabbed the lead early in the quarter on a conventional three-point play by Brittany Boyd. Lindsay Whalen answered with a jumper and a penetration of a Sylvia Fowles high post screen. Minnesota was soon on its way to a convincing road win.
What Minnesota did well: Shot the ball, hitting nine three-pointers en route to an impressive 52 percent effective field goal mark.
What New York did well: Competed the first half, not allowing the Lynx to pull away.
Laimbeer spoke about the rebounding difference. While the Liberty had a slight edge in offensive rebounding percentage, Minnesota cleared the boards to a 37-33 advantage at the end of the night.
Tina Charles’ first field goal came with 1:10 remaining in the third quarter.
The Liberty box scores record plus/minus, and jumping off the page was Minnesota’s Seimone Augustus, who earned a plus-19 rating. Augustus scored 11 points, adding five rebounds and three assists. Sugar Rodgers, the game’s leading scorer, had just one point after halftime as a number of Liberty sets fell to poor execution, but credit the Minnesota defense for limiting the former Georgetown standout.
Cheryl Reeve’s Lynx placed five in double figures, with Maya Moore’s 16 points pacing the visitors. Moore also contributed an effectiveness factor of 32, which broke down to 1.00 on a per-minute measurement. The Liberty had two double-figure scorers in Rodgers and Boyd, who scored 20 and 16 points, respectively. As Laimbeer lamented, regardless of the reason, when Charles is not scoring, prospects are indeed tough for the Liberty.
There is really no metric for hustle and chemistry. At this early juncture, it is quite evident Minnesota has both.
Final thoughts:“We didn’t execute and we need to be more disciplined. Against a really good team, you have to be disciplined or you will get beat. Intensity went down a bit as the second half went on. Tina has been ill lately. We count on her a lot. If she’s not engaged in the game for whatever reason, we will struggle. Still, we have to execute, and the difference was shooting percentage and rebounding. Brittany Boyd injured her Achilles and will get an MRI tomorrow.” - Liberty head coach Bill Laimbeer