- Associated Press - Saturday, May 21, 2016

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Skylar Diggins soaked in a few encouraging words in the locker room from WNBA President Lisa Borders, the former Notre Dame star’s right leg propped up on a chair with her knee wrapped in ice.

Diggins finally returned to the court 11 months after a devastating knee injury, and Odyssey Sims was back in front of friends and family in the inaugural home game for the Dallas Wings.

Sims scored 23 points, while Diggins was just happy to see 12 minutes of playing time, and the Wings celebrated the first women’s pro game in the Dallas area in more than 30 years with an 82-77 victory over the San Antonio Stars on Saturday night.

“It’s always great to have her back,” Sims said about Diggins, who missed all three road games to start the season and played for the first time since tearing her right anterior cruciate ligament last June 28, when the franchise was still in Tulsa.

“She’s still just trying to get back slowly but surely. But she’s taking her time. She’s still thinking a lot as you can see. Once she stops thinking about her knee, she’ll be OK.”

Sims, who starred at a Dallas-area high school and 100 miles south at Baylor, had all kinds of things to think about before the Wings improved to 3-1.

Besides finding her mom in the stands and making sure she took time to talk to so many guests, Sims made a brief speech to try to pump up an announced sellout crowd at the 7,275-seat College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington, halfway between Dallas and Fort Worth.

Sims hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first 5 minutes, finished the first quarter with 10 points and hit a pair of clinching free throws with 3 seconds left after the Stars missed on three late chances to tie while trailing 80-77.

“I was a little jittery at first, but it wore off as the game wore on,” said Sims, who was 11 of 12 from the line.

Diggins came off the bench late in the first quarter to a roar almost as big as any of those for Sims. The 2014 All-Star scored one point, missing both her shots and three of four free throws. But that didn’t matter much.

“You can plan as much as you want to plan,” said Diggins, who played with a knee brace. “At the end of the day, the knee has a mind of its own and you’ve just got to just roll with the punches. I was just happy to be out there again and really happy we got the win.”

Kayla McBride scored 29 points, one shy of her career high, to lead the Stars (0-3).

Borders addressed the crowd before the game moments after the team honored coach Leta Andrews of nearby Granbury. Andrews retired two years ago as the nation’s winningest high school coach - boys or girls - with 1,416 victories.

The inaugural crowd was a mix of young and old, including several youth basketball teams wearing their team colors. There were even a few Tulsa Shock T-shirts in the crowd. The franchise spent five years in Oklahoma after originating in Detroit in 1998, the second year of the WNBA.

There were pockets of empty seats, but plenty of enthusiasm from the neon green towel-waving fans, particularly with the Stars trying to rally late.

San Antonio’s Frida Eldebrink missed two potential tying 3-pointers in the final minute, including an open look from the right wing with 5 seconds left.

Karima Christmas scored 14 points for Dallas, and Aerial Powers had 10 of her 12 points in the second quarter. Plenette Pierson, a Houston native and by far the most experienced Wings player in her 14th season, scored 11.

Courtney Paris had eight points and 15 rebounds for Dallas.

Kayla Alexander and Sydney Colson scored 11 apiece for San Antonio.

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