Dream Defeat Shock Despite Late Rally

July 26 was a big game for the Tulsa Shock. The night began by honoring Sheryl Swoopes, who was recently named one of the Top 15 WNBA Players of All Time. Swoopes would go on to pull down her 1,500th rebound of her career. She ended the night 12 points and five rebounds.

Guard Ivory Latta also hit a significant milestone when she scored her 1,000th point in her five-year career in the WNBA. Forward Tiffany Jackson had 17 total rebounds, a career-high and a season-high for the Shock. Her 13 defensive boards were also a 2011 team record.

The game was also big for the Atlanta Dream’s Angel McCoughtry, who scored 37 of the Dream’s 76 points. That would be her career-high and season high for the WNBA. Her 19 free-throws attempted and 15 free-throws made were also a season league-high. The 19 free throws attempted is the third highest in WNBA history, tying her with four others. Her contribution on the court led Atlanta to its fourth-consecutive win, 76-68 over Tulsa.

Atlanta went on an 8-2 run to close the first quarter out at 20-12 to early command of the game. In the second quarter, the Dream extended their lead 15, holding the Shock to only 28.6 percent shooting from the floor. Atlanta led 41-26 at half. McCoughtry went to the locker room with 22 points and a 67 percent field-goal percentage.

Atlanta’s run continued well into the second half, where they topped Tulsa by as many as 19 points. The Shock rallied to respond in the fourth quarter, going on a 15-1 run and trimming the Dream’s lead to just three points, with 3:36 left on the clock.

“It was a sense of urgency,” Latta said. “We were capitalizing on opportunities and taking the missed shots they were taking and getting good shots for ourselves.”

The Shock again kept the Dream within their reach until the final seconds of the game, when Lindsey Harding hit a three to stretch the Shock’s deficit to seven.

“We are getting it,” interim head coach Teresa Edwards said. “We are getting it slowly, now we just got to put smartness to it. We have got to come out and start better. We are still fighting from behind, and I want to change that. I want us to learn how to jump out on people and stay there.”

The loss makes 10 consecutive losses for Tulsa, and 15 this season. Yet this game was also the team’s first with Kathy McConnell-Miller as assistant coach, and newly acquired center Abi Olajuwon and Karima Christmas. With the recent transitions within the organization and a healthy, driven team, the Shock players know they are headed in the right direction.

“I think Ivory coming back was huge for us,” Jackson said. “And with Abi and Karima, once they get familiar with the system and our offense, that gives us another punch. So I think that it is going to be good, once it is complete.”

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