Shock Fall to Storm After Leading By 15 in First Half

The Tulsa Shock has been fighting to put to rest a habit of coming out with a weak first half then fighting to recover in the second. In their June 21 game against the 2010 defending WNBA champions Seattle Storm, they handily overcame that problem, but it was finishing the game that the team struggled with this time around, falling to the Storm 82-77.

The Shock came out to an early lead in the first half. After the first quarter, Tulsa was up 20-13 over Seattle, and led by as many as 15 in the 2nd quarter. The Shock went to the locker room at half up 37-31 on the Storm.

The third quarter was a different story. Down six points and forward/center Lauren Jackson on the bench the second half due to a left hip strain, Seattle had to come into the second half defensively and offensively sound. And that is what they did.

The third quarter was all Seattle. The team nearly doubled what it scored in the first half, outscoring the Shock, 30-13 in the third quarter and gaining the lead. And Seattle would not let go of it for the rest of the game.

“That was a disappointing loss,” Coach Nolan Richardson said. “We played so good in the first, I would say, 12 minutes of the ball game, but then we did not sustain the kind of basketball we have been trying to play. We knew they were going to make their runs. We thought we would be able to answer. And we did. But we missed our first few shots coming out into the second half, and they kept us on our heels defensively the rest of the game.”

Tulsa fought hard at the end, scoring 27 points to Seattle’s 21 in the fourth quarter, but push at the end was not enough to overtake the Storm’s lead.

“We came out of the locker flat for whatever reason,” forward Tiffany Jackson said. “We can’t start the third quarter like we did. We are a fighting team and we are used to coming back. We need to learn how to finish out and close games. That’s something we have been struggling with.”

Jackson would end the night with a double-double and a season-high 20 points and 10 rebounds. Kayla Pedersen contributed 15, while Elizabeth Cambage and Latta were right behind her with 13 and 11 points, respectively.

Prior to its lost against L.A., the Storm had held its opponents to 68.7, the lowest in the league. Between Los Angeles and Tulsa, that average has risen to 73 points.

Tulsa is now 1-6 for the season, but they are not going into the next game with their heads down. The Shock saw overall team development in this game and is ready to correct their mistakes and move forward.

“We had a good first half,” Pedersen said. “We typically have strong second halves. We jumped out and got a quick lead, and we were aggressive just like we are in practice. This shows a lot of potential, a lot of growth. We are right there. We just have to get over the hump and figure out how to finish.”

Tulsa’s next game is Thursday, June 23 at 11 a.m. against the New York Liberty.

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