Storm Taken Down in Tulsa
by Jourdan Rodrigue @JourdanRodrigue
The Tulsa Shock’s fight for a franchise record of four wins in a row proved to be too much motivation for the Storm to overcome as they were defeated in Tulsa on Sunday afternoon, 85-29.
A huge third quarter from Sue Bird helped elevate the stagnant Storm offense to a 6-0 run complemented by a 24-point performance from Tanisha Wright and should have given the Storm the win, but impressive double-digit performance by four Shock players, including 26 points from Skylar Diggins to lead all scorers, was simply unmatched and hardly contested by Seattle.
Wright set the offensive tone in the first quarter as she and Bird combined for the first six points of the game for the Storm, two of which came from a pristine finger roll through Tulsa traffic.
Seattle sprinted through the quarter, shooting 67% from the field (Tulsa shot only 37%) assisted by two three-pointers from Shekinna Stricklen in a row and Wright’s quarter-ending eight, but Tulsa, a team desperate to not fall further behind in the West, promised to give them a game as the second quarter began.
Two consecutive Storm fouls to start the second period only led to more whistles against Seattle as the half continued. Tulsa was sent to the line again and again, and 75% free throw shooting as well as outrebounding the Storm 21-12 helped them outscore Seattle 24-15 in the second.
Stricklen’s offensive performance ensured the Storm didn’t fall too far behind as she hit yet another three, and both she and Wright were in double digits with five minutes left in the half, yet the Shock led as the teams hit the locker room, 41-39. Tulsa’s Diggins, previously held by the Storm to six points in their last matchup, had 11 at the end of the half as well as Stricklen, and Wright led all scorers with 12.
Seattle started the second half with a turnover, which led to a three-pointer from Tulsa’s Odyssey Simms. A Shock rebound led to an and-1 play for Diggins, her fourteenth point of the night, and Tulsa led by eight. Seattle would not score until almost three minutes had elapsed in the quarter.
Bird’s two jumpers and a three-pointer in the third helped Seattle attempt to cut the deficit to two points. This also led to a 6-0 Storm run as the team clawed its way back within one as the third quarter ended, 60-59.
A three-pointer from Wright and layup from Crystal Langhorne returned the lead to Seattle, 65-60. Tulsa’s Odyssey Sims answered with a three of her own to cut the 5-0 Storm run. Another Langhorne layup put Seattle up six, and a trio from Johnson stretched the lead.
A quick transition offense brought back the Shock as they threatened to pull ahead, coming within two points with 4:28 left in the game. Diggins’ and-1 gave the lead back to the Shock, 79-77, and two layups from Courtney Paris stretched the lead to six.
The Storm was outscored 25-20 in the fourth quarter helped partially by a 9-0 Tulsa run and the Shock took home its fourth consecutive win, 85-79.
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