By Arden Franklyn
It is often expressed how you’ll discover more about people, when adversity occurs and in sports, that statement continues to be true. Despite watching their double digit lead evaporate and defending Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart at their respective best, the New York Liberty overcame all of that and then some, to secure a 94-86 win over the Seattle Storm. There are three things to recognize as the Liberty’s winning streak extended to four.
Controlling The Boards
A common theme in any of the Liberty’s wins, is their presence on the glass. Prior to Sunday’s game, the Liberty had averaged 42.3 rebounds per game in their previous three contests and outrebounded their opponents twice. Although they didn’t reach their 42.3 average, the Liberty did secure 39 rebounds and beat the Storm in that category by four.
The More, The Better
It is well known how good of a scorer Tina Charles is. The multi-time All Star is currently averaging 20.4 points per game this season, but her average over the last five games is 23.2. Besides Charles’ scoring, the Liberty has seen multiple players reach double digits consistently as of late. There are at least three players reaching that plateau with an additional two players being two-three points away from accomplishing as such. The Liberty become even more dangerous when the scoring is diversified.
Can’t Win Games, If You Don’t Play D
Coach Bill Laimbeer would certainly like to see fewer points allowed, after 80+ points were scored on the Liberty twice in the last four games (89 vs. Dallas and 86 vs. Seattle), but this team in excelling in other defensive areas. During this same stretch, Liberty opponents are shooting a combined 37% from the field and 30% from three point land. At least in one game, they have also forced more than 10 turnovers. When the Liberty are executing their defensive game plan, not many teams can score on them.
While we are still early in the 2017 WNBA Season, the so called “early stages” will soon be ending with All Star break around the corner. It is important for the Liberty to continue building their momentum and improving, so their goals of competing and winning a championship still exist. But it will certainly require all hands on deck and no days off, when it’s time to play.