Sparks Hand Shock Record 18th Loss in a Row
The two teams had met twice this season. The last time Los Angeles played at the BOK Center, Tulsa jumped out to an early lead and topped the Sparks by as many as 18 points. Nonetheless, the Shock could not keep the momentum going into the fourth quarter, and lost the game.
History repeated itself, Aug. 21. The Shock led by as many as 15 points in the first half, but would be outscored and outrebounded in the second half, to fall to the Los Angeles Sparks, 73-67.
“I really thought we played a great first half,” Interim Head Coach Teresa Edwards said. “As I reflect back on the second half, we just kind of gave out. We never did have the same intensity in the second half that we came out with in the first.”
The first half was picture perfect for the Shock. Tulsa shot a season-best 66.7 percent from the floor in the first quarter of the game, holding the Sparks to 43.8 percent from the floor.
Sheryl Swoopes and Jennifer Lacy both hit double-digits early in the game. At the end of the first quarter, Lacy had 11 points and Swoopes had 10.
The Sparks had a short run at the start of the second quarter to bring the team within seven of the Shock, but smart Tulsa defense and offense maintained the lead through the half. Shock finished the first half up 45-32, outrebounding the Sparks 15-6. They led by as many as 15 points in the first half.
The Shock out-rebounded the Sparks 15-6 at the end of the first half. They finished the game with 31 boards over L.A.’s 25. The Sparks opened the second half with a 16-0 run, to trim the Shock lead and take over. The Shock dropped to a 48.7 percent shooting percentage and was outscored 21-9. Still, Tulsa was able to regain the lead, 54-53, at the end of the third quarter.
Opening the fourth with a 13-2 run, gave L.A. a comfortable cushion, and the Sparks jumped out to lead by as many as 11 points.
“The only way to describe the two halves is: first half, energy; second half, none,” guard Ivory Latta said. “Our execution wasn’t there. I think we backed down a little on defense and gave them opportunities to score. We have to have that first half energy. We have to play 40 minutes.”
Swoopes had a season-high 17 points. Lacy scored 13 for the night, with Latta putting up 11 points.
The loss extends the Shock’s losing record to 18, the longest single-season streak in WNBA history, surpassing the Atlanta Dream who lost 17 in a row in 2008. But the Shock will have to shake off this loss, and get ready for their next game Tuesday night. Finishing the season strong remains the team’s focus.
“Our goal is to win, to try to stay positive, to try to stay together, to stay motivated and get the next win,” Lacy said.”