Shock defeat Fever 76-70 to earn first-ever playoff berth
The Tulsa Shock (15-14) survived a second-half comeback effort by Indiana to clinch the team’s first-ever playoff berth since arriving in Oklahoma in 2010. Led by Odyssey Sims and Karima Christmas, the Shock won their fifth straight game and handed the Fever their third straight loss.
“It means a lot,” said Tulsa head coach Fred Williams about earning a playoff spot. “For women’s basketball, and myself being in it. I’ve worked hard. For the city of Tulsa I told them we were going to do big things here and I thought this was one of the biggest days for our franchise and our organization here and for our fans. They deserve this.”
The Shock raced out to a 28-15 lead in the first quarter. All five Shock starters scored in the first quarter, led by Odyssey Sims with 13. Tulsa was hot from the outset, shooting 78.6 percent from the floor compared to 30.0 percent from Indiana.
However, Indiana worked hard enough in the second stanza to trail by just two at the break. The Shock scored a season low ten points in the second quarter as the game was slowed down due to ten Tulsa fouls.
Going into the third quarter with a 38-36 advantage, the Shock quickly lost the edge when Lynetta Kizer made a layup to tie the game at 38. There were six ties in the third with Indiana outscoring the Shock 21-19. The teams went into the fourth quarter tied at 57.
The Shock dug deep to come out on top with a 19-13 scoring edge in the last period to take the game. Fever guards Shenise Johnson Shavonte Zellous both fouled out of the game late in the fourth quarter.
Sims scored a season-high 30 points and dished out five assists to lead Tulsa. Karima Christmas had 18 points plus four rebounds while Plenette Pierson added 11 points.
Veteran forward Tamika Catchings was the only Fever player in double figures with 22 points plus 13 rebounds.
The Fever returns home to host Connecticut on Tuesday. Tulsa goes on the road to play Seattle on Thursday.
- Tulsa’s Riquna Williams left the game at the 9:01 mark in the 2nd quarter with a left shin injury and is day-to-day.
- The Fever’s 15 points in the first quarter was four points away from tying a season low for points scored in the first quarter.
- The Fever’s defense held the Shock to 10 points in the second quarter, which is a Shock season low for points scored in the second quarter.
- Indiana’s three-game losing streak is the Fever’s first since June when the team began the season 0-3.
- Indiana has split the regular-season series with the Shock for the second consecutive season.
- Tamika Catchings shot 7-of-10 for 22 points. With 13 rebounds, she recorded her sixth double-double of the season and the 96th of her career. Her three blocked shots matched her season high.
Shock head coach Fred Williams
On fighting through a tough game
“First of all I want to say that Indiana is a very fine team: Defensively, all-around shooting, a very physical team. We just have to play through a lot of physical play out there and with this team we are kind of relentless. We will not give up, we hang in there. We built some leads and gave them back but I just told them to hang in there and we’ll get our breaks in the fourth quarter. And that’s what they did; they made some big plays for us defensively.”
Shock guard Brianna Kiesel
On making key defensive plays
“I think it’s just I work and I do what I can when I get in the game and for coach to leave me in at the end. You just have to earn those minutes and for coach to believe in me and my teammates giving me so much confidence. It just makes me feel so much better.”
Shock guard Odyssey Sims
On tonight’s physical game
“I was just being aggressive. I think that’s something I struggle with, for me to have a play or two go my way and then have five or six in a row go against me. I’m just trying to stay aggressive; it’s what my team needs going down the stretch. Everybody on our team is going to be hard to guard so I’m just trying to be an offensive threat out there.”
Shock forward Plenette Pierson
On bouncing back from the team’s 10-game losing streak
“Basketball is just a game of who wants it more. Coach can draw up all the plays he wants. Coach can say all the defensive schemes he wants. It’s about us digging down deep and finding it within ourselves to just go out there and really give it a-hundred and ten percent. And I think once we did that we were going sky high. And going into New York, in the garden, an historical (arena), New York’s playing great this season, they’re number one in the East – to do that, that’s a real confidence booster.”
Fever head coach Stephanie White
On tonight’s game
“We had eight turnovers in the fourth quarter that led to 11 points. [Tulsa] picked up the D and had us on our heels. They’re fast and quick. They took it to us on defense.”
“We need to put ourselves in a position to play to win; not playing not to lose. It’s a mentality that we’ve got to have. We took the lead and thought we had some momentum, but we stopped attacking. We let Tulsa take control.”
“We can’t expect to win games when we continue to foul and send teams to the line.”
Fever forward Tamika Catchings
On how the game went
“We just didn’t take control of things like we should have in the fourth quarter, and then it got tough to have to play from behind again. Anytime you expend so much energy getting back into a game like we did, it’s a shame not to take advantage. It’s very disappointing to let this get away after all we went through to take the lead.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Fever 30, Shock 26
Second Chance Points: Fever 6, Shock 0
Fastbreak Points: Fever 10, Shock 5
Biggest Lead: Fever 5, Shock 17
Lead Changes: 6
Times Tied: 7