AT&T Center– Before the 2014 WNBA season began, Becky Hammon said she knows Kayla McBride has great potential and said the Stars future will be bright with her on the team. On Wednesday night, the San Antonio Stars rookie showed everyone why Hammon has high praise for the Notre Dame guard.
McBride scored a season-high 30 points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining to lift the Stars past the Tulsa Shock 82-79 in front of an announced crowd of 5,286 fans at the AT&T Center.
Tulsa guard Skylar Diggins tied the game with 38.6 seconds to go in the fourth quarter. McBride would then nailed a shot from beyond the arc just as the shot clock expired as the fans inside the arena screamed with excitement.
”Actually, that wasn’t even the play, the play was different, but I was just trying to get the ball up,” McBride said. ”I knew the shot clock was running down. We had to get a shot up at least, so I just kind of threw it up there. I was just as surprised as everybody else that it went in.”
Odyssey Sims had a chance to win the game for Tulsa, but her shot fell short as time expired.
Glory Johnson scored 18 points, Diggins added 17 points and Sims chipped in 16 for Tulsa (0-3).
”I thought it was a hard fought game back and forth,” Tulsa head coach Fred Williams said. ”We kind of built a lead off and on, and the Stars came in and hit a couple of big 3s at the end.”
Hammon finished with nine points and five assists in her first home game in nearly two years after suffering a torn ACL in the 2013 season. The 5-foot-6 guard admitted she is starting to see flashes of her old self as she was 3 for 4 from the field, including scooping a layup to give San Antonio a 70-64 lead midway through the fourth quarter.
”They were giving me a hard time, telling me it was vintage me in my 20s,” Hammon said. ”It’s just a matter of getting my feet. I’m still working on it. Just trying to pick my spots, being very selective in what I’m doing.”
San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes was not pleased with his teams defense despite the thrilling victory. In the first half the Shock shot 71.4 percent and finished with 38 points in the paint.
“We’re not going to win a lot of games playing this way,” Hughes said. “Our defense was much better in the second half and if we want to win on the road, we need to get better on that end.”
Having a scorer like McBride also helps. The rookie finished 10 for 14 from the field, including 4 for 6 on 3-point range. She came into the game having an average of just 8.5 points per game.
”I feel like I’ve been pressing a little bit these last couple of games,” McBride said. ”I give all credit to my teammates finding me in open spots where I was comfortable. I was knocking in shots. I was just trying to go out there and play and just take advantage of what I could do best.”
The Stars are now 3-2 on the season and will return to the court on Friday when they travel to Minnesota to face Maya Moore and the defending champion Lynx at 7 p.m. at Target Center.