May 17, 2014

SAN ANTONIO (AP) The silver lining to all the injuries sustained by the San Antonio Stars through last season was that others received the opportunity to play critical minutes.

That experience paid off down the stretch in San Antonio's home opener.

Jia Perkins scored 20 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final 45 seconds, and the Stars rallied to beat the Tulsa Shock 80-76 on Saturday night.

''We played through Jia at the end of the game,'' San Antonio 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.''

Playing without Becky Hammon, who missed her second game because of a sprained ankle, the Stars had 10 players score.

Danielle Robinson had 17 points and five assists, rookie Kayla McBride 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.''

Skyler Diggins had 20 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Tulsa, which dropped its season opener. Glory Johnson added 15 points, and Courtney Paris had 13 points and 14 rebounds.

There were six lead changes in the final three minutes, including three in the last minute.

Following two free throws by Diggins, Perkins' 3-pointer gave San Antonio a 78-76 lead with 15.8 seconds remaining. The play was designed for Perkins to come off a curl, but she opted for a long-range shot when the 6-foot-3 Johnson switched defensively on her.

''I was just trying to make a basketball play,'' Perkins said. ''They switched on me, and I couldn't see (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.''

Perkins was 4 for 4 on 3s and 5 for 13 overall.

Tulsa had four attempts to tie the game or regain the lead, but couldn't.

Diggins missed a pair of short-range jumpers, and Williams' 3-point attempt bounded off the glass to Paris, who was fouled. Paris missed both free throws.

Paris was 6 for 9 from the field overall, but 1 for 4 on 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.

''I wish we could have had a few of those possessions back at the end of the game, but the team fought all the way through. You have to credit them (and) Jia, for being able to knock down two dagger 3s at the end.''

San Antonio finished 7 for 21 on 3s, shooting just 36 percent overall. But the Stars forced 15 turnovers and held the Shock to 32 percent shooting in the fourth quarter.

''This is a great team win,'' Perkins said. ''We had a lot of people step up, it just wasn't me. We had great defense down the end and that was a team effort.''

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