TULSA, OK—Its been six years in the making.
When the final horn sounded in the BOK Center on Saturday night the Tulsa Shock (1-1) capped off a dominating 101-93 win over the Chicago Sky (1-1) when Odyssey Sims drained two foul shots with seconds left on the clock.
Sims also had five assists, and Skylar Diggins finished with 20 points and eight assists.
Team veterans had a big night as well. Plenette Pierson added 19 points, and Karima Christmas had 15, including a 44-footer at the halftime buzzer to send Tulsa into the break with a 19-point lead at 62-43, a franchise record.
As the final seconds drained off the BOK Center’s big board the 7,256 fans clad in orange t-shirts roared in approval as they finally enjoyed their team take a home opener after six years of trying. While it wasn’t exactly something that is on par with the final seconds of a series-winning finals run, it was a significant monkey that was riding on the back of the Shock franchise since they relocated from Detroit in 2010.
They also defeated one of the participants in the 2014 WNBA finals.
On Saturday night, the Tulsa Shock were on fire. After being edged by the Minnesota Lynx on Friday night on the road 83-75, the ladies were bound and determined to hit their home court and come away with a win.
The Shock domination began early on in the game and didn’t let up. The Sky got the opening bucket and from there, it was all Shock all night.
The Sky chipped away at the huge Tulsa lead in the 3rd and fourth quarters, but the closest Chicago got to taking the lead occurred in the final minute of the game, when an Elena Delle Donne three pointer knocked the Tulsa advantage to just five points at 95-90. Her efforts had cut the Shock’s lead to ten points with 11 seconds left in the 3rd frame.
In the end, Elena Delle Donne scored 40 points for Chicago (1-1), hitting 13 of 24 shots from the field and going 11 for 11 from the line.
Cappie Pondexter finished with 26 points, and Courtney Vandersloot added 11.
Tulsa head coach Fred Williams was pleased with his team after the game.
“It feels good to win an opener. It feels good for the fans and it shows the direction this franchise is trying to go,” he said. “We still have a few things we have to tighten up on defense, but I’m very happy with the way we battled.”
“It’s a game of runs and when you got a lead like that it time to relax and focus the team. I’ve been in the playoffs, Chicago’s been in the playoffs, so we just want to go out and maintain our lead, and stray strong. We’re going to make mistakes this time of the year, of the season, and we’re going to learn from it. And tonight we learned how to maintain a lead”
Plenette Pearson echoed her coach’s sentiments on what it will take to build on the Shock’s big win.
“It took us just battling together on defense.” Pearson commented, “Chicago’s a great team, they’ve been playing great, they made it to the Finals last year. And we knew that just not one person could beat them. We all had to band together, and that was the difference for us. Coach was telling us to just grind it out. We were going to make shots, and we were going to miss shots, but most importantly we had to play defense.
The Shock get Sunday and Monday off before taking on the Seattle Storm at 7pm on Tuesday night in the BOK Center.