Diggins scores 21, leads Shock over Liberty 72-57
TULSA, Okla. (AP) Against the New York Liberty, Courtney Paris looked like the consensus four-time All-American who dominated at Oklahoma.
Paris finished with a career-high 16 rebounds and 12 points for her fifth double-double of the season, leading the Tulsa Shock to a second consecutive win, 72-57 over the Liberty.
A crowd of 4,542 for the matinee game at the BOK Center cheered as Paris returned to the floor in the final minutes. Her block of Cappie Pondexter's shot with 2:40 left seem to deflate the Liberty, who fell to 3-6.
''Courtney was a big force in the middle for us,'' coach Fred Williams said of the 6-foot-4 center. ''This is the Courtney I saw at OU and in high school. She's playing with a lot of confidence. She's very comfortable in what we are trying to do. She's doing a good job around the rim.''
Skylar Diggins led Tulsa with 21 points, and rookie Odyssey Sims add 10 points.
New York's Tina Charles led all scorers with 25 points, tying her season high on 11-of-19 shooting. She was the only Liberty player to score in double figures.
Paris entered her third season with the Shock with a clear understanding of her role.
''My job is to rebound,'' she said. ''There were a lot of shots to get and I just tried to get them. Whenever you have the great players they have like Tina Charles, Cappie Pondexter ... we all buckled down on defense. I just happened to get that block.''
Paris said the game plan was to limit Charles and Pondexter. Sims again proved her defensive prowess, shutting down the veteran Pondexter, who managed just seven points on 2-of-14 shooting.
''Odyssey did an amazing job on Cappie,'' said Diggins, who added 10 points in the fourth quarter when the Liberty attempted their run.
Sims downplayed her defensive skills.
''I was just trying to make it tough for her to score,'' said the former Baylor star.
Coach Williams added: ''I will always give Odyssey the big assignment on defense. She draws the tough assignment.''
Tulsa (2-5) led from the opening tip, building cushions of 17 points. The Shock led 42-29 at halftime.
''We really want to make sure we protect home court,'' Diggins said. ''Basketball is a game of runs. We had ours, and we knew they would have theirs with so many veterans. We were able to sustain it. That shows the effort of this team, the fight that we have.''
Jordan Hooper played some key minutes for the Shock in the absence of Riquna Williams. Hooper finished eight points and four rebounds.