Fever Escapes Shock
The Tulsa Shock's late rally in the final four minutes of the fourth quarter fell just short as the Fever escaped the BOK Center with a narrow 73-70 victory on June 23.
Down 65-54 with 4:39 left in the fourth quarter, the Shock went on a 13-2 run to tie the game at 67 after two Glory Johnson free throws with 53.5 seconds left to play.
Glory Johnson had a career-high 22 points and has now led the Shock in scoring in back-to-back games.
“I thought we really out-played these guys in the second half," Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "I’m really proud of our players for battling, fighting every possession. We got ourselves right there in a position to win."
Tammy Sutton-Brown was fouled on the ensuing Fever possession and made one of two free throws but Tamika Catchings was able to grab the offensive rebound to give the Fever another possession in the final seconds. Catchings held the ball with her back to the basket till near the end of the shot clock before finding Erin Phillips in the opposite corner for a three-pointer that put the Fever up four, 71-67 with 16.4 seconds to play.
“Defensively we were doing really good but offensively we started slow," Glory Johnson said. "We picked it up but it just wasn’t enough. We have to start a little better and finish the game off successfully.”
Temeka Johnson instantly responded with a pull-up three-pointer off the inbounds pass to cut the Fever lead to just one, 71-70, with 11.7 seconds remaining. After Catchings made both free-throws on the offensive end, Ivory Latta's off-the-dribble three-point attempt fell short and the Fever escaped with a narrow three-point victory.
[Related Story: 2012 Williams Women of Inspiration Honorees ]
Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg played against his former team and mentor Lin Dunn for the first time since taking the lead job with the Shock this past January. Kloppenburg was an assistant for Dunn in Seattle from 2000-2002 and again in Indiana from 2008-2011.
“I like him as a coach; I like him as a father. He is just a great guy and I think (Tulsa) is really, really lucky to get somebody like him as your head coach," Fever Head Coach Lin Dunn said. "There is not any doubt in my mind that he is going to build this franchise into a great franchise. If the fans will be patient and give him time to let him put in his system, you will have a championship caliber program. That is the kind of person he is.”
The Shock were without Scholanda Dorrell and Jennifer Lacy who are each nursing right knee injuries. Chante Black did return for the Shock after missing the last three games with a jaw injury. Black recorded two points and two rebounds in 4:45 minutes of action.
Courtney Paris made her home debut for the Shock and recorded 10 points and a Shock season-high 11 rebounds in 15:36 minutes. Her college coach Sherri Coale from the University of Oklahoma was on hand as she was the keynote speaker for Williams Women of Inspiration pre-game and halftime ceremony.
“I’m glad to be back in the state of Oklahoma playing basketball. It’s a great opportunity for me. I thought we fought hard in the end. We were down by ten or so and stayed with it. Got down to the end and it was a good game.”
With yet another close loss, the Shock fell to 1-11 on the season but progress is visible and apparent as they team learns to play the full 40 minutes and close out games in the fourth quarter,
"We have a young team and as I told them in there, we have to keep fighting, keep battling because we are going to win these close games," Kloppenburg said. "We are going to learn how to win these close games. We’ve got to put ourselves in a position like we did tonight to try and win those games.”
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