AT&T Center– Last season, the San Antonio Stars suffered devastating injuries to some of their biggest stars. That meant that others got the opportunity to play big minutes and gain valuable experience for the future.
That experience paid off for the Stars in their home opener as they kept pushing forward and came out victorious.
Jia Perkins scored 20 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the final 45 seconds as the Stars rallied to defeat the Tulsa Shock 80-76 in front of 8,625 fans at the AT&T Center on Saturday night.
”We played through Jia at the end of the game,” San Antonio head coach Dan Hughes said. ”It was just a really good basketball game, and I thought our execution at the end was good. I thought Jia Perkins was a player, and enabled us to finish that game.”
Danielle Robinson finished with 17 points and five assists, rookie Kayla McBride had a better second game and scored 11 points, and Sophia Young-Malcolm added eight points and eight rebounds.
”We know we’re a veteran team, so we have to keep our composure. I think that’s what we did,” Robinson said. ”We had a lot of poise down the stretch. Even when they hit shots, we knew we were going to be able to answer. Coach drew up some good plays, and obviously Jia was confident shooting the ball.”
Tulsa was led by Skyler Diggins who finished with 20 points nine assists and eight rebounds. Glory Johnson added 15 points, and Courtney Paris had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The game featured 19 ties and 25 lead changes, including six lead changes in the final three minutes.
Perkins’ 3-pointer gave San Antonio the 78-76 lead with 15.8 seconds remaining. Following the game, Perkins said that the play to come off a curl, but changed when Tulsa switched their defense.
”I was just trying to make a basketball play,” Perkins said. ”They switched on me, and I couldn’t see Sophia (Young-Malcolm) in the block with the matchup, so I knew Glory was on me. She’s so long. It was going to be hard to take it to the basket. She was probably going to block it, so I just kind of tried to size her up and try to shoot over.”
Tulsa had multiple chances to tie the game after the Stars could not secure the rebound which came off to Paris, who was fouled. Paris missed both free throws.
”It’s a tough one to digest,” Wiggins said. ”I love the way our team fought all the way to the end. I thought we got great play out of Courtney Paris, especially on screen-and-rolls.”
San Antonio finished 7-for-21 from beyond the arc and shot just 36 percent for the game. However, the Stars forced 15 Shock turnovers and held the visitors to 32 percent shooting in the fourth quarter.
The Stars are now 1-1 on the season and will return to the court next Friday when they travel to Phoenix to take on Diana Taurasi and the Mercury at 9 p.m. inside U.S. Airways Center.