Shock's Late Rally Falls Short
Despite a third quarter surge where the Shock outscored the Mercury 26-18, Tulsa's late rally fell short against Phoenix as they were defeated, 79-72, at US Airways Center on June 3.
Including a 40-30 advantage tonight, Phoenix has outscored Tulsa in the paint by a combined 28 points (88-60) this season, both Shock losses.
“We really struggled tonight on the boards," Jennifer Lacy said. "We just have to commit to the full possession. We’ll have a great defensive possession and give up on offensive rebounds, so we just have to commit to boxing somebody out and going after that rebound.”
Lacy led the Shock for the second consecutive game, scoring 19 points. Temeka Johnson added 18 and eight rebounds in her first trip back to Phoenix since being acquired by the Shock this past off-season.
"We started out a little slow and once you dig a hole for yourself it’s hard when you have to play against the type of players they [Phoenix] have in their locker room, like DeWanna Bonner and Candice Dupree," Johnson said. "They’re doing a really great job, so you can’t allow that.”
Apart from the first basket of the game when the Shock led 3-0, the Mercury led the rest of the way and by a game-high 12 points at half. The Mercury have now won 10 games in row against the Shock over the past three seasons.
“Well, I thought we kind of dug ourselves a deep hole there in that first half," Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "I like how we fought out of it, and in that third quarter we got right back in the game, but we’re struggling to make shots. That’s what the bottom line is right now. So we have to find a way to improve and beat a good team like Phoenix.”
The Shock shot 33.3 percent (23-of-69) against Phoenix. This was the fifth straight game the Shock shot below 40 percent from the floor as a team.
“The big one we see is our shooting. We’ve been shooting in the mid-30’s which is just not good enough in this league," Kloppenburg said. "We have to find a way to make more shots, simply put. We play 10 and 11 players and we’re just trying to search for who can step up, maybe make some shots."