Liberty-Shock Preview

The Associated Press

The Tulsa Shock have shed themselves of the label of the only WNBA team without a win. The New York Liberty have halted a three-game losing streak.

The teams will both try for their first winning streak of the season Tuesday in Tulsa, where the Shock will be going for a third straight home win in the series.

The Shock (1-5) began a four-game homestand with Friday's 94-78 victory over Phoenix.

"It's been a learning process and tonight it really kicked in for us," first-year coach Fred Williams said. "The guards really got after it defensively. That really set the tone for us up and down the floor."

The guards also got after it offensively, with rookie Odyssey Sims scoring a season-high 21 points while backcourt mate Skylar Diggins added 20, reaching that mark for the fourth time in six games after averaging 8.5 points as a rookie. She also had nine assists, matching her own Shock single-game record set on May 17 in San Antonio.

"I thought we had better spacing," Diggins said. "We have bigs like (Courtney Paris) and Glory (Johnson) who can finish. (Jennifer Lacy) came in and knocked a few (shots) down. It was a total team effort."

The Liberty (3-5) were similarly effective in Sunday's 81-64 home win over Washington, shooting 48.4 percent and going 7 for 11 from 3-point range while limiting the Mystics to 33.3 percent overall.

"I think after the last game we realized the energy level has to be better," coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We also had to open our offense more, which we did. We put a lot of stuff in the last couple of days. And I think they appreciated that and started to perform accordingly."

Guard Cappie Pondexter turned in the most noteworthy bounce-back effort after New York's 87-75 loss to San Antonio three days earlier, scoring a season-high 21 points while hitting 10 of 11 shots. She had been held to 12 points on 3-of-20 shooting in her previous two contests.

"Everyone wants to get better," Pondexter said. "We talked about what we needed to improve on, individually, and tonight it made us a better team."

They'll now try to apply that on the road, where they're 1-3 with three straight losses by single digits.

New York's stars will also try to continue growing comfortable playing with Tina Charles. The former league MVP, acquired in a draft-day deal with Connecticut, is averaging 14.8 points and 10.6 rebounds in her first eight games with her new team, but said the transition has at times been trying.

"Things take time," Charles said. "When I got here I didn't expect we would go 8-0. My expectation is it's going to take work and dedication and we have individuals here willing to do that."

The Shock beat the Liberty 93-88 at home on Sept. 1 to split last season's series. The home team has won the last five meetings.

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