Tulsa back on track, routs Phoenix 74-59, as Paris and Christmas hit milestones
The Tulsa Shock (12-14) earned a 74-59 victory over the Phoenix Mercury (15-10) Tuesday night at the BOK Center, even without starting forward Plenette Pierson.
Tulsa finished the first quarter with a 19-14 lead. In the second, they widened the lead to as much as 15. At the break, the Shock led 35-25. Tulsa outrebounded Phoenix 15-6 in the first quarter, 28-15 in the first half and 49-31 for the game. The Shock were outscored in the third quarter 12-19, but won the fourth quarter 27-15. Both teams shot under 40 percent for the game ( Tulsa 34.8 percent, Phoenix 33.3 percent)
Shock center Courtney Paris reached the 1,000 career rebounds milestone in the first quarter. She entered the game needing just four to reach that mark. The sixth-year pro out of Oklahoma finished the game with her fifth double-double on the season with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Her teammate, forward Karima Christmas reached the 1,000 career points milestone in the second half. She entered the game needing 11 to reach the mark. The fifth-year pro out of Duke finished the game with 15 points in the game, including going 7-8 from the free throw line.
Riquna Willams led Tulsa with 18 points four rebounds and six assists. The Shock’s balanced scoring effort also included 15 points from guard Odyssey Sims. Vicki Baugh started in place of the injured Pierson (knee sprain), and finished with two points and eight rebounds. Her boards total tied a season-high for the second year player out of Tennessee.
Candice Dupree led Phoenix with 18 points and four rebounds. The Mercury’s leading scorer DeWanna Bonner added 13 points plus five rebounds. She was held scoreless in the first quarter. The Shock limited Mercury center Brittney Griner to just nine points but she managed to pull down seven rebounds and block six shots.
The Shock won their second game in a row while Phoenix is on a two-game skid. However, Phoenix remains second in the West, three games behind conference leader Minnesota. The Shock hold on to third place, 6.5 games behind the Mercury. It was Tulsa’s first win versus Phoenix in four games played this season, two in each city. The two teams play once more in Tulsa on the last regular season game, September 13.
The Shock host the Connecticut Sun on Friday. The Mercury head home and face the Los Angeles Sparks on the same day.
Tulsa coach Fred Williams
“I thought Tiffany Jackson did a good job off the bench and Zaui B. did a good job coming in. Karima Christmas did a great job of getting to the rim and setting the tone for us.”
On stopping the slide
“I think the key to that is we learned to slow the ball down a little bit and don’t panic, don’t start putting up shots right away. I thought we moved the ball a little bit more. Some baskets we didn’t hit in the past, we are making them. That’s the big difference, same with the New York game; we made a big basket when they made a run at us. Defense is starting to get the rotation a little better also.
Phoenix guard Karima Christmas
“We knew we had to put bodies on them because we couldn’t relax on them and give them opportunities in the second half to come back. The third quarter was a little bit of a struggle but we had to do what we did against New York and push through in the fourth quarter.”
Tulsa guard Riquna Williams
“Coach B told me to stay in it. She knows I’m hurting she knows my legs are heavy. But that doesn’t mean stop being a professional. Keep giving it your all every night keep putting up shots. I’m sore; on the floor, the plane ride, the hits driving to the basket, I feel it all.”
Phoenix coach Sandy Brondello
“I thought Tulsa controlled the game for the most part of it. I don’t think we brought the right aggressive mentality that we needed to play against a team like the Shock. We’ve had tough games against Tulsa. They’re very athletic and they can score from multiple positions, with obviously their guards, but Christmas pounded us on the boards. They showed their toughness tonight. Credit to Tulsa, they played well tonight.”
On things she recognized in her team to work on
“I think a little bit of everything, but a little bit of confidence in there as well, with some of our shootings struggling with their shots. But you know you miss a hundredd percent of the shots you don’t take. And not being aggressive, and reading what defense does, and obviously everyone’s going to trap BG (Brittney Griner) so we have to make sure we’re executing much better out of that. And being ready to play at tip-off, not from late in the second quarter.”
Phoenix forward Candice Dupree
“For us it was pretty sloppy. We didn’t do a very good job defensively. Did a much better job third quarter and got back into it heading into the fourth, and then momentum changed again. Tulsa played really well and their athleticism hurt us. We have to be more consistent for an antire 40 minutes and not try and turn it on after halftime.”
Phoenix forward DeWanna Bonner
“It was just competitive. I was just trying to get back in and create some energy. I was trying to get everybidy going, and it was just how the game rolled. I was just trying to get our team pumped up.”
By the Numbers
Points in the Paint: Mercury 30, Shock 26
Second Chance Points: Mercury 10, Shock 9
Fastbreak Points: Mercury 9, Shock 12
Biggest Lead: Mercury 4, Shock 15
Lead Changes: 4
Times Tied: 3