Shock takes second straight win
BY MIKE BROWN World Sports Writer
Friday, August 31, 2012
8/31/12 at 3:54 AM
Related story: Shock notebook: Making it happen.
The Tulsa Shock enjoyed Tuesday's win at Atlanta so much that they thought they'd try it again and let the home folks in on the fun.
The Shock exploded past the Los Angeles Sparks in the third quarter and made it look easy Thursday night, rolling to a 99-85 win before an announced crowd of 5,275 at the BOK Center.
Tulsa (6-19) posted a season-high point total while breaking the Sparks' nine-game winning streak. The Shock won back-to-back games for the first time in 2012 and for only the third time since moving to Tulsa in 2010.
But the Shock missed two chances in the final minute to break 100 points for the first time in its three seasons in Tulsa. Amber Holt missed two foul shots with 52.9 seconds left and Chante Black turned the ball over with 11 seconds left.
No matter. The Shock was in a mood to celebrate, and could be heard whooping it up in the locker room afterward.
"I'm excited for the kids," head coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "They've worked so hard and they deserve to have some success here late in the season, the way the first part of the season went."
Having the most fun was spark plug guard Ivory Latta, who scored 21 points to pace seven Shock players in double figures and dished a career-high 14 assists. Her previous high was 10, three times.
She had seven assists in the third quarter when the Shock outscored the Sparks 36-12 and turned a 50-42 halftime deficit into a 78-62 lead after three quarters. Tulsa went on to lead by as many as 21 points over the final 10 minutes.
Latta shredded the Sparks (19-7) on the pick-and-roll play, drawing the defense and deftly flicking the ball between defenders to teammates like Glory Johnson (16 points, six rebounds) and Chante Black for easy baskets. Black's 10 points matched her season high.
"Them scoring gave me a lot of confidence because I feed off of them scoring and then me scoring," said Latta, whose previous 2012 assist high of eight came in a 91-75 win against the Sparks on June 26.
"We do a pretty good job against (the Sparks)," Kloppenburg said. "We could have beaten them three times."
Tulsa led the Sparks until Kristi Toliver hit a last-second 3-pointer to beat the Shock 76-75 in LA on May 29. This time, she scored 21 points to pace the Western Division's second-place team, but she had only four points in the second half.
"We try to play physical with (Toliver) and I thought we let her get away a few times in the first half," Kloppenburg said. "So I thought we did a good job of making that adjustment in the second half."
Tulsa, which plays at defending league champion Minnesota on Friday night, shot a season-best 51.4 percent (37-for-72) from the field, including a season-best 58.3 percent from 3-point range (14-for-24).
Latta was 5-for-9 from behind the stripe and Roneeka Hodges and Jennifer Lacy were each 3-for-4.
"I think we're playing with nothing to lose and we're trying to play our best and have some fun," Lacy said, who had four offensive rebounds and five total.
Shock 99, Sparks 85
At Minnesota 7 p.m. Friday
Original Print Headline: Shock takes second straight
Mike Brown 918-581-8390
Tulsa guard Roneeka Hodges drives against Los Angeles' April Sykes Thursday at the BOK Center. KEVIN PYLE/For The Tulsa World