Atlanta takes Tulsa in WNBA season opener

Tulsa Shock

Five players scored in double figures for the Atlanta Dream as they defeated the Tulsa Shock, 98-81, on Saturday.image001

The Dream shot better than 52 percent for the game and took care of business at home on the WNBA’s 2013 opening night.  Atlanta won its opener for the first time in three years.

Riquna Williams came off the bench for Tulsa to lead all scorers with 22 points.  But the Tulsa offense as whole wasn’t as good.  The Shock made only 24 of 64 for 37.5 percent and never had the lead.

Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg gave the credit to a good Atlanta team and its performance on the evening.

“Atlanta is very, very athletic,” Kloppenburg said.  “They really just kind of ran it down our throats, off turnovers, and their quickness really bothered us. They drove the ball.  They got it in the middle.

“I thought they looked really good on their first game out.”

It was the first game for Skylar Diggins as well.  The Shock rookie had 15 points to go with three boards and three assists.

But Diggins said she is still learning about her teammates and her job in this new league.

“We’re a new team but we’re eager to get better,” Diggins said.  “Obviously we’re upset about this loss and were gonna come out and play better in our home opener.”

“But you can’t teach experience, so it’s good for me to be out on the court, getting that in-game experience, and to just watch the film, learn from it , and have a short team memory and come back and get ready for Washington.”

And as did her coach, she praised her opponent.

“But like I said, you have to credit Atlanta for the 50/50 plays, crashing the o-boards and getting out in transition. They played well tonight.”

Tulsa plays its home opener against Washington on Monday in a nationally televised contest.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 2 p.m. as part of a WNBA doubleheader on Memorial Day.

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