Essence Carson, who left with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter, had 18 points and and Cappie Pondexter scored 17 as New York (15-19) finished the regular season 9-8 at home. The Liberty will take on Connecticut in the first round of the playoffs.
“Tulsa’s three guards they had out there gave us trouble and I think we contained that in the second half, which allowed us to be better offensively,” Pondexter said. “Defense definitely gave us that aggressive edge that we need and that we played with all season.”
Ivory Latta had 16 points and six rebounds for the Shock (9-24), who already have their best record in three seasons since moving from Detroit. Tulsa, which was a combined 9-59 the last two years, dropped to 3-13 on the road heading into the season finale at Indiana on Sunday.
Tulsa led by 10 at the half, and got 14 points, four rebounds and four assists from Riquna Williams.
“We played a really good first half and we came out aggressive,” Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “We were going inside-out, we were getting shots and they stepped their defense up in the second half. We were in a lot of trouble getting good looks. They (The Liberty) came out with a lot of energy wanting to win their last home game.”
The Liberty secured a playoff berth earlier in the week, and that may have been the cause of a slow start vs. the Shock. On Thursday, when Chicago was eliminated with a loss to Atlanta, New York clinched a spot minutes after losing by double digits at Tulsa.
They did so in the second half, outscoring the Shock by 27 points. The Liberty finished with four players in scoring double figures, including Kia Vaughn (14), who also had nine rebounds.