Why can New York only have Tina Charles score over twenty points or consistent three-point shooting? Why can’t the Liberty have both simultaneously? Since Rebecca Allen‘s two career games, including her purple patch at home last Tuesday, New York hasn’t shot over 28 percent from behind the arc. Over the entire weekend, Allen, Nurse, Johannès, and Hartley combined for a total of four three balls out of a total 22 attempts for the collective.
Charles, on the other hand, scored 48 points over the weekend while collecting 20 boards. Not to mention she hit more three balls than Allen and MJ combined. Against the Mercury, Charles scored 15 points in the first quarter alone and passed Seimone Augustus to become 10th on the WNBA all-time scoring list.
While New York outshot both opponents from the field, both Dallas and Phoenix outshot the Liberty from beyond the arc. The opposing defenses tightened up on Charles, and when the Liberty tried to space the floor, the long ball wasn’t landing.
“I thought we battled but we just had a tough time scoring in the second and the fourth and we fouled a little too much,” Smith said on Sunday. “Three-pointers and free-throws were really the difference in the ballgame, but I thought we battled and the defense was solid and held them to 78 points. Going to be tough winning ball games scoring 72, but we competed tonight.”
While the 2019 WNBA discourse revolves around player protection and physicality in the paint, New York is Adjusting to the WNBA’s “extra whistles.” On August 11, Liberty legend Rebecca Lobo and Her Hoops Stats contended that fewer fouls have been called this season than in previous years. While Her Hoops Stats theorizes that this number is down due to increased floor spacing, centers Liz Cambage, Sylvia Fowles and Griner have been outspoken about getting hammered by defenses around the basket.
With Amanda Zahui B. out since August 11 due to a concussion, Reshanda Gray and Rebecca Allen were slotted into the starting five to shoot their shot at the four. “I think there’s an advantage there with being a shooter, but also spacing the floor for Tina and our post players with more threats of shooters around them,” Smith said on Allen on Friday night. “So a little of necessity in a way when Zahui’s out, but also, I think it’s an advantage as well of being able to space the floor and allowing us some more gaps, whether it’s for our perimeter players or our post players.”
Unfortunately, both fouled early trying to navigate their respective matchups against Glory Johnson and Imani McGee-Stafford in Dallas and DeWanna Bonner and Brianna Turner in Phoenix. For both players, more whistles will and have already restricted portions of their game. Gray struggled with loose ball fouls while trying to contain her contact, attempting to execute what she does best: contesting rebounds and boxing out. Allen is a swatter and uses her leapfrog bounce to block shots. Ill-timed leaps on Bonner and Turner got the best of Allen.
The same Tiffany Bird was officiating the game against the Mercury. On Allen’s second personal shooting foul on Turner, the Aussie approached Bird for clarification. It was difficult to tell if there was any.
Against Minnesota, Brittany Boyd screamed her name from the sideline on Tuesday. And Lobo’s theory is at least on Katie Smith’s radar (note her like of it).