Sky Can’t Sleep on Improving Shock

After rallying to their largest comeback victory in franchise history over the Atlanta Dream, the Sky look to keep rolling against the struggling Shock. Chicago improved to franchise-best 4-1 start on the season while the Shock are still winless.

That first win has eluded the Shock sometimes by the slimmest of margins. Tulsa fell to Phoenix 89-87 on May 22 and to Washington on May 26 coming within a single possession of a tie. It took the Shock five games to pick up their first victory last season, but they would remain few and far between as Tulsa finished 3-31, last place in the WNBA.

Tulsa entered the 2012 season with a new head coach in Gary Kloppenburg a former assistant for the Indiana Fever and member of the inaugural coaching staff of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. Kloppenburg has coached at nearly every collegiate and professional level of basketball and his guidance has led to a better performance than Tulsa’s record might suggest.

The Shock have been able to hang with their opposition, but have been unable to finish. To keep them out of the win column, the Sky will need to play a solid first three quarters and capitalize in the fourth both from the floor and from the free-throw line where Chicago has shot 74.1 % so far.

Finishing strong and closing out games hasn’t been an issue for this year’s Sky squad as Chicago used the full 40 minutes to knock off Washington and Atlanta last weekend. Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince played with ice in their veins in the final quarters of both games and newcomer Swin Cash showed her knack for making the little, less-noticed plays that made the difference.

Fowles has been stellar under the basket so far for the Sky, but Prince has been equally potent from the perimeter. Prince currently leads the WNBA in points per game with 23.8, while Fowles sits in third with 21.2 points per and leads the league with 13.8 rebounds per.

The Sky won both meetings with Tulsa last year and will look for that dominance to continue. Last time in Tulsa Fowles, Courtney Vandersloot and Prince combined for 37 of Chicago’s 64 points to get past the Shock and leading scorer Ivory Latta.

Latta has been a force off the bench this season as the Shock’s lead scorer, but it has meant little for the team’s fortunes. Forward Jennifer Lacy should also be a factor off the bench Friday coming off a 19-point performance in Tulsa’s latest 79-72 loss to the Mercury.

Tune into the game on Comcast CN100 and WNBA LiveAccess at 7:30pm Friday June 8 or purchase your ticket by calling 866.SKY.WNBA