Comparing and ranking offenses by points per game can be deceiving because different teams play at different speeds. Offensive Efficiency takes the pace at which teams play out of the equation by showing us how many points a team scores per 100 possessions. So even though the Detroit Shock scored a WNBA-high 75.1 points per game in 2003, the Seattle Storm was actually more efficient with its offensive possessions scoring 102.6 points per 100 possessions compared to 100.5 for the Shock.
Comparing and ranking defenses by points allowed per game can be deceiving because different teams play at different speeds. Defensive Efficiency takes the pace at which teams play out of the equation by showing us how many points a team allows per 100 possessions. So even though the Charlotte Sting allowed the second fewest points in the league last season at 64.6 per game, they were actually only the 12th most efficient defensive team allowing 100.4 points per 100 possessions.
Possessions per 40 Minutes (Pace)
Different teams play at different speeds. Some look to run-and-gun at every opportunity, while others prefer to set up the half-court offense. “Possessions per 40 minutes” shows which teams are playing at a faster pace than others. A possession is any offensive play that ends in a made basket or free throw, a defensive rebound, a turnover or a steal. An offensive rebound is considered to be the start of a new “play” but a continuation of the same possession in that possession of the ball never changed hands. Teams are ranked from fastest to slowest, so the Detroit Shock, at 73.6 possessions per 40 minutes, played at the fastest pace of any team last season while the Charlotte Sting at 64.2 played at the slowest.