Shock Take Down The Storm

TULSA – The Tulsa Shock started their inaugural season on the right foot as they defeated the Seattle Storm, 90-80, in a preseason game at the BOK Center on Sunday.

“We’ve got a long way to go and a very short time to get there, but I was very proud of the young ladies today,” head coach Nolan Richardson said. The Shock scored 36 points off 33 turnovers and out-rebounded the Storm 39-34.

Tulsa center Kara Braxton scored the first points in the team’s history with an easy layup off a Plenette Pierson assist. The Shock jumped out to a four-point lead at the end of the first quarter. Six Tulsa players scored in the first, shooting 42 percent to the Storm’s 29 percent.

In the second quarter Shock guard Ivory Latta hit a 17-foot jumper with 4:45 left in the half that sparked a one-minute 8-0 run, extending the lead to 36-26. Fourteen of the 15 players on Tulsa’s roster saw playing time in the first half. Amber Holt led the team with seven points and four others had six as the Shock held a 48-40 lead at half.

Seattle stormed back with an 8-2 run in the opening three minutes of the second half, tying the game at 50. Tulsa scored just 14 points in the third, and the game was at a deadlock at the end of the quarter, 62-62. The Shock outscored the Storm 28-18 in the fourth quarter and finished with five players in double figures. Braxton and Holt both led the team with 14 points, followed by Pierson with 13, Scholanda Robinson with 11 and Shanna Crossley with 10.

“I think we were a little sloppy and messy out there, but that’s going to take time because it’s a new team,” Braxton said. “We were playing against each other and it’s a whole new system, but I’m glad we just came out with a W. That’s all we wanted and we’re going to pick up things and work together throughout the season.”

Of the 14 Shock players that got playing time, just three played more than 20 minutes, a testament to Coach Richardson’s high-octane style of play. Brian Agler, head coach of the Storm, commented on Tulsa’s style of play after the game. “It takes a lot of energy and they’re playing hard right now,” Agler said. “There are a lot of ways to play the game; you just have to buy in to the system. If they do that they have a chance to have some success and I think they’ve got that right now.”