Take two: Shock wins again
BY Jimmie Tramel World Sports Writer
Sunday, August 28, 2011
8/28/11 at 11:01 PM
When Sheryl Swoopes took a seat in an interview room at the BOK Center, she had ice on her left knee and ice on her right shoulder.
“I’ve got a leak,” she said, as water trickled from an ice pack.
Maybe the problem — and it’s a good one — is that Swoopes and the Tulsa Shock are all of a sudden hotter than the (Connecticut) Sun and, thus, hot enough to melt ice.
Swoopes scored more points (22) than she has in any game during her comeback season and the Shock, which shot 73.1 percent from the field after halftime, mounted a stunning comeback to secure an 83-72 victory over the WNBA’s third-winningest team Sunday.
As of last week, Tulsa was riding a 20-game losing skid. Now the Shock, which ended the longest losing streak in WNBA history with a Friday road victory at Los Angeles, has won back-to-back games for only the second time since the franchise relocated from Detroit in 2010.
Even more shocking than a Tulsa win streak is how the latest victory was authored.
The Sun led by 15 points early in the third quarter.
Said Swoopes, “I think at that point, they probably thought ‘oh, we’ve got a 15-point lead, so we can take it easy. They are going to give up. A team that can’t make the playoffs, why would they come back and fight?’
“The thing I love about this team is it doesn’t matter if we are up by 15 or down by 15. We are going to continue to play hard and continue to fight.”
Tulsa did more than trade punches. The Shock triggered such a radical momentum switch that it was hard to tell which team was playoff-bound and which team has been the WNBA’s version of the Bad News Bears.
Over a 14½-minute span, the Shock outscored the Sun 43-13 (“wow,” Swoopes said when the numbers were dictated to her afterward) to take a 15-point lead into the twilight of the fourth quarter. It left players on both teams searching for the right words.
“I don’t know what to say. I am speechless,” Connecticut’s Tina Charles said after her team dropped to 18-11.
“It feels good, man,” Shock point guard Ivory Latta said after her 3-25 team rewarded fans with the second homecourt victory of the season. “And I am out of words, and that’s kind of strange. You are supposed to have a lot of words when you are winning, but you are just so overwhelmed.”
Latta scored 19 points (she averaged 22.5 in two games against the Sun this season) before doing a postgame dance in front of a fan at midcourt. And Tiffany Jackson recorded a double-double (16 points, 12 rebounds). But Swoopes credited roster-wide contributions for what transpired.
“I think it would have been real easy for us to come home and say ‘OK, we won on the road. We will just kind of go through the motions and take it easy and if we win, we win, and if we lose, we lose.’ But the good thing is nobody has taken that approach to any game.”
Teresa Edwards said her team, with the losing streak dead and buried, has finally turned the corner.
What happened to get the Shock around the corner?
“We’ve been working our tails off, dude,” the coach said.
“Sometimes the ball starts bouncing your way and I think, in L.A., things started bouncing our way finally with our hard work. It has been a long road to get to here, to understand each other and just get past the fact (of) maybe we were feeling that we couldn’t win. But now I don’t think we feel that way anymore. Now we know we can win.”
Tulsa's Sheryl Swoopes (left), Kayla Pedersen, Abi Olajuwon and Elizabeth Cambage celebrate on the bench during the closing seconds of the Shock's win against the Connecticut Sun on Sunday at the BOK Center. Mike Simon/Tulsa World