Sky Head West
The Shock, who are on a five-game losing streak of their own, have won just once in the last eight tries and sport a 3-18 record for the 2012 season. While Friday's matchup might provide ample opportunity for the Sky to get back on track, Tulsa has shown it doesn't go down easy. On June 8, Tulsa visited Chicago in one of the year's most thrilling battles. Aided by five missed free throws from the Shock, Chicago staged a furious rally that was capped by Epiphanny Prince's buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the game into overtime.
The Sky went on to score a franchise-record 21 points in overtime to put the Shock away, 98-91.
No doubt, Tulsa will be looking for revenge and Chicago must be weary of the Shock's diminutive, but lightning-quick guards. Ivory Latta, who stands 5-foot-6, and Temeka Johnson, 5-foot-3, are the team's two leading scorers at 13.6 and 12.3 points per game, respectively. Their speed and ability to penetrate the paint give opponents fits and open up the floor for teammates Jennifer Lacy, Roneeka Hodges and upstart rookie forward Glory Johnson. While the Shock may not boast a high-scoring go-to player such as Chicago's Prince or Sylvia Fowles, they possess a balanced attack with nearly six players - the above-mentioned five in addition to guard Riquna Williams - averaging double figures. Williams, who averages 9.7 points per game, is the team's wild card off the bench and has shown that any Shock player - as attested by Williams' 27-point outburst against Los Angeles on June 26 - can go off on any given night.
The Sky, meanwhile, are coming off a missed opportunity, Wednesday, against an Atlanta team missing its superstar, Angel McCoughtry. With Fowles and Swin Cash still fresh off of leading Team USA to gold at the London Olympics and the rest of the Sky getting their legs back after a month-long break, Chicago came up short down the stretch in Atlanta in an 82-71 loss. Fowles led with 22 points and Cash, in her best game of the 2012 season so far, added 19, but the only other Sky player to reach double figures was Shay Murphy with 10.
With the loss, the Sky fell into a tie with New York for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Chicago's hopes of earning the franchise's first appearance in the playoffs remain alive, but they'll need to return to early-season form when they rattled off seven wins in eight games and showed they can be one of the league's best when all cylinders are clicking.
You can see this game on WNBALiveAccess by visiting www.chicagosky.net Tip off is scheduled for 7pm