By Arden Franklyn
Gaining momentum is critical for any team, no matter how it is achieved. Although always important, having that momentum sometimes exceed its own value, especially as confidence builds, shots start to fall, and everything falls into place. As the 2017 WNBA All Star Weekend begins, the New York Liberty will head into the break with a 96-80 home win over the Connecticut Sun. Below are the takeaways from the Liberty’s 2nd straight win.
1. Field goal percentages are beginning to recover
During the Liberty’s recent stretch, where they dropped 4-of-5 games, the team’s field goal percentage were under the season average, sometimes drastically so. Although New York was playing strong defense that gave them a chance to win games, shots just weren’t falling. Since then, it has improved steadily. After shooting 42% from the field and 39% from three against Washington, the Liberty increased those totals to 47% and 42% vs. the Sun. An underrated element to the team’s offensive success recently, is their free three attempts. TheLiberty averaged close to 20 attempts per game over the recent 2-game winning streak.
2. Limiting the trio of Jones, Williams and Thomas
In their June 23rd encounter vs. the Sun, the Liberty failed to contain Jonquel Jones, Courtney Williams and Jasmine Thomas, as the trio scored a total of 55 points in a Connecticut win. But this time around, the Liberty were more successful by limiting Jones, Thomas and Williams to 31 combined points on 42% shooting. Bria Hartley’s perimeter defense and the team’s ability to effectively communicate and switch matchups played a big part in that happening, as well as the team effort to keep Jones from attempting too many easy shots and limiting her offensive rebounding opportunities. New York was dominant on the boards with a season-high 48 rebounds and +24 advantage on the glass.
3. Tina’s hot July stretch continues
It’s already very hot when July is happening in New York City. But Madison Square Garden experienced more heat, because of Tina Charles. The newly announced All Star had 28 points and 17 rebounds on Wednesday, thus pushing her averages in the month of July to 22 points per game and 11 rebounds per game. So far, Charles’s July averages are her best of the season to date.