Mercury Wins Close Game, Rematch on Sunday

Eight days of rest and a new starting line-up was just what the Tulsa Shock (1-10) needed as they headed into back-to-back games against the Phoenix Mercury (7-4). Tulsa looked like a completely different team than the team that fell to the Minnesota Lynx, June 30. Nonetheless a tough third quarter would extend the Shock’s losing streak to five, as the Mercury won 86-78.

A shoulder injury sidelined starting guard Ivory Latta this game, and Coach Nolan Richardson opted to change up the Shock’s regular starting lineup, with newly acquired Doneeka Lewis and Amber Holt, who has missed the last eight games due to a broken thumb.

“We started out with Amber Holt, who had just come back from a thumb injury,” Richardson said. “She is not in any game condition, but we still played her and tried to get her ready for the rest of the season. And the same thing with Doneeka Lewis, who played 29 almost 30 minutes, she has not been playing, but you can see she has a chance to be a very good player for us.”

Holt reported her thumb was still swollen, but played nearly 11 minutes. She had two assists and one point for the night.

The Shock’s new lineup proved to be successful and Tulsa kept the Mercury in its sights throughout the first two quarters of the game as the Shock found themselves down by just seven, 46-39, at half.

But coming out of the locker room, the Shock struggled to find their rhythm in the third quarter. The Mercury put up nine unanswered points in the first three minutes to secure a 16-point lead. The Mercury outscored the Shock 30-21 in the third quarter and would maintain their lead throughout the rest of the game.

The Shock forced 19 turnovers and outscored their opponents 18-10, fourth quarter the fewest amount Phoenix has scored in the fourth quarter all season long and tying the team’s low for points scored in any quarter in 2011.

“We are getting closer every game,” Elizabeth Cambage said. “The only way is up.”

In her debut with Tulsa, Lewis had nine assists, setting a Shock high for the 2011 season. Cambage had 19 points, with Tiffany Jackson and Kayla Pedersen putting up 15 and 13 points, respectively. Sheryl Swoopes had 10 for the night.

“They really fought hard,” Richardson said. “They battled all the way through it.”

Phoenix has now won seven of their last eight games.

Tulsa will have another chance to close a win against Phoenix, Sunday, July 10 at 5 p.m. at the U.S. Airways Center in Phoenix.

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