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Storm Falls Again to Tulsa, 86-59

July 17, 2013

They won’t have to see the Tulsa Shock again until September. And that’s just fine with the Seattle Storm.

Riquna Williams came off the bench to pump in 26 points on Wednesday afternoon, and the Shock, except for one first-quarter tie, led from start to finish in beating the Storm on the annual Camp Day in KeyArena, 86-59.

Camille Little had 11 points and Tina Thompson tallied 10 for the Storm (6-9), who have lost all three games this season to Tulsa. The Shock (4-13) won 67-58 in the Key on June 7; then 92-70 in Tulsa on June 22. Wednesday’s outcome snapped their six-game losing streak.

“We’ve had trouble with them in three games. I’m at a loss for words,” said Storm guard Tanisha Wright, who had nine points and handed out five assists. “We understand that this was a game we needed to win, especially when it comes down to playoffs. This may be who we’re fighting against to get in.

“But we can’t worry about that now. We just have to worry about taking care of ourselves.”

Seattle concludes a string of three straight games at home when the Los Angeles Sparks come in on Saturday at 7 p.m. It’ll be the first of two in a row against L.A., with the Storm visiting the Staples Center next Thursday. The teams haven’t met since the season opener on May 26 in California, when the Sparks rolled to a 102-69 victory.

The Storm and Shock wind up the regular season against each other -- Sept. 12 in Oklahoma, and Sept. 14 in Seattle.

“In this league, no matter what happens, good or bad, you have to have a short-term memory,” Storm coach Brian Agler said of shaking off Wednesday’s defeat. “You have to learn from your wins and losses and find a way to get better. But you also have to forget about your last game and get ready for the next one.”

The Storm, who trailed by 19 at halftime, climbed back into the game in the third quarter with tougher defensive play and better rebounding. They cut Tulsa’s lead to 10 at 52-42 when Thompson buried a 3-pointer from the left of the lane with 2:15 to go in the period.

But with a chance to get closer, Seattle turned it over, as Angel Goodrich came up with a steal and went coast to coast for the lay-in. Williams then drained a 3-pointer on Tulsa’s next possession, and the lead was back up to 15. Wright answered with a 3-pointer, but Williams immediately matched that with another trey for Tulsa.

“They hit a couple 3s in a row, and that’ll kill you,” Wright said. “That will deflate anything, especially when you have a little bit of momentum and you have a chance to get another score, and you don’t for whatever reason.

“We have to figure out a way to play through that and win.”

Little hit a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left in the third to make it 60-47. But Seattle went the next 5 minutes, 41 seconds without a point. The Shock ran off 16 straight to make it a 29-point bulge at 76-47 with 5:26 left in the game.

Altogether, the Storm had three scoreless spells totaling more than 15 minutes, during which Tulsa scored 35 of its points: 8-0 in the first quarter, 11-0 in the second, then 16-0 bridging the third and fourth.

“For whatever reason, we can’t figure them out at the moment,” Thompson said. “We got on track a little bit and cut into their lead a little bit (in the third quarter). But again, you just can’t allow a team to be as comfortable as they are offensively. We have to match their intensity, as well, and I don’t think we’ve done that consistently.”

The Storm, coming of a season-best shooting performance of 51 percent in Sunday’s 73-65 victory against Atlanta, hit just 35 percent on Wednesday (20 of 57). The Shock shot at a 57 percent clip (31 of 54), including 61.5 percent (8 of 13) from behind the 3-point line.

Glory Johnson added 15 points for Tulsa, Goodrich had 14, and 6-foot-8 Australian center Liz Cambage, who scored the first five points of the game for the Shock, finished with 13, along with a game-high eight rebounds. An ankle sprain prevented Cambage from playing in the first two games against Seattle. Tulsa was missing rookie star Skylar Diggins on Wednesday, also because of a sprained ankle.

Little and Clark grabbed six boards apiece for the Storm. Seattle finished with 26 rebounds despite not getting its first one untll more than six minutes into the game. Tulsa finished with 30 rebounds.

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