Crunch Those Numbers

You might as well call it the on-season. Even though the courts and locker rooms are empty, the WNBA is constantly in motion – the action is just happening behind-the-scenes.

Coaching staffs, with the help of scouts, are currently busy preparing for the 2008 campaign to find the best ways for their team to improve next season. When players report to Training Camp each spring, coaches set a team goal, whether it’s building on the previous season’s success or going in a whole new direction. Watching game film and running plays is merely scratching the surface when looking to get a team on the road to improvement. The key to finding success in this sport, on any level, is analyzing statistics. After all, basketball is a game of numbers. recently sat in on a statistical analysis session looking at the Liberty’s 2007 season, hosted by the team’s manager of scouting and video operations, Catherine Proto. With such an action packed season this summer, there was a lot to take in during this breakdown of stats.

According to Proto, statistical analysis is a continuous process that is extremely useful and important to the franchise. “Our coaching staff is constantly examining the players and team's stats throughout the season,” she explained.

When comparing the final statistics from this season against last season (2006), New York has made strides on both ends of the court. On the offensive side of the floor, the team saw increased production in:

Statistical Category20062007
Points per game69.871
Field goal %39.741.9
Three-point FG %33.537.7

Defensively, the team also improved by:

Statistical Category20062007
Allowing fewer points per game78.873.7
Committing less fouls1918.2
Holding opponents to lower FG %44.941.6
Holding opponents to lower three-point FG %37.132
Forced more turnovers14.315.7

The Liberty coaching staff will look at these statistics to see if there are any trends in the team’s play. “There was a point this season where we were 10-1 when we scored 70-plus points, and the coaches found it to be a good motivational tool in our pre-game meeting and a goal for the team to continue to strive toward,” said Proto. The Liberty proved to be a formidable opponent in this trend, as 15 out of its 16 regular season wins came when the team scored more than 70 points.

We learned from Proto that statistical trends established during the first 10 games of the season are critical to a team’s success. “It is very important to get a jump on your opponents and the league standings at the beginning of the season,” she explained. “We evaluate our first 10 to make sure that we start off the season on a positive note and that we are reaching the goals that we set for the team during the pre-season.” It’s safe to say that those goals were accomplished in 2007, as New York soared to the second best start in franchise history (5-0).

First 106472.942.942.572.98.323.231.513.818.37.716.22.6
First 10--72.441.128.979.911.224.936.114.919.88.616.43.9


Compiled by Christopher Chin