Sports

Pierson, Liberty Close Out Season With 91-74 Win Over Tulsa Shock

TULSA, OK - September 20: Plenette Pierson #33 and Essence Carson #17 of the New York Liberty reach for a pass by Temeka Johnson 2# of the Tulsa Shock during the WNBA game on September 20, 2012 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

TULSA, OK – September 20: Plenette Pierson #33 and Essence Carson #17 of the New York Liberty reach for a pass by Temeka Johnson 2# of the Tulsa Shock during the WNBA game on September 20, 2012 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Plenette Pierson had 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the New York Liberty defeated the Tulsa Shock, 91-74, on Saturday at the Prudential Center, closing out the regular season for the home team.

Essence Carson, who left with an apparent leg injury in the fourth quarter, and Cappie Pondexter combined for 35 points, as New York finished 15-19 overall, and 9-8 at home. The Liberty will take on Connecticut in the first round of the playoffs.

Ivory Latta had 16 points and six rebounds for the Shock, a rebuilding team that is now 9-24 overall. Tulsa has had major problems on the road this season, and Saturday was no different. The Shock are now just 3-13 away from home, with one more game to go. Tulsa led by 10 at the half, and received 14 points, four rebounds and four assists from Riquna Williams.

The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Liberty and set the stage for their opening-round playoff series. They will meet the Sun in Connecticut on Thursday. It is a best-of-3 set.

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 despite a below-.500 record.

“We need to go into the playoffs feeling good,” Pondexter said during the week. “We need to give our fans something as we head in to the playoffs.”

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.

The Shock close out the season Sunday at Indiana.

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