Pierson lifts Shock to fifth straight

ShockWNBLThe astonishing rebirth of the Tulsa Shock continues.

Two big wins over the weekend have landed what once was the afterthought of the WNBA in first place in the Western Conference with a record of 6-1.

The Shock defeated the Washington Mystics 86-82 on Friday night and the Minnesota Lynx 86-78 on Sunday. They will return home this Friday night for a contest with the New York Liberty and will remain home for a 6pm game with the Seattle Storm on Sunday.

Plenette Pearson added 19 points in the 101-93 Shock victory over Chicago Saturday night. Photo: Shock

Plenette Pearson  Photo: Shock

In Friday night’s tilt in the Nation’s Capital, Plenette Pierson sunk two foul shots with 1.6 seconds left on the Verizon Center clock on Friday night to give her 24 points and the victory as the Tulsa Shock cruised to a 86-82 victory over the Washington Mystics. She was backed up by a 22 point performance from Riquna Williams to complete Tulsa’s fifth straight win.

The win gave the Shock their first win against Washington in the last four meetings and a franchise high 5-1 start on the young 2015 WNBA season.

It looked as if the Shock were headed for their first loss since opening night with 45 seconds left when the Mystics’ Tierra Ruffin-Pratt went 1 for 2 at the foul line. Tulsa responded with a Pierson jumper and two Skylar Diggins free throws that led to Pierson closing out the Shock scoring with her foul shots. The Shock led at the half 40-36 and had a three point edge over Washington 67-64 at the end of the third.

Tulsa battled back into the lead in the dying seconds after the Mystics tied the game in the middle of the fourth quarter, and instead of imploding as they had in previous years the Shock’s veterans stepped up and pulled the visitors back in front.

Pierson was 9-of-19 shooting, and Williams hit 4 of 8 3-point attempts.

Tulsa Today Sports Editor Rich Lohman talks with Skylar Diggins. Photo: Shock

Tulsa Today Sports Editor Rich Lohman talks with Skylar Diggins. Photo: Shock

On Sunday in Minneapolis’ Target Center, the Shock were keen to get revenge on the Lynx, the only team thus far to defeat them in the 2015 season. It wound up being the Skylar Diggins show.

Diggins scored 26 points and Courtney Paris had a double-double ringing in 17 points and 11 rebounds in a game where the Shock got off to a slow start and built momentum until they found their rhythm. The Shock struggled early, making just two of their first 10 field goal attempts and 6 of 21 in the first quarter.

The game was tied at 48 at halftime. Diggins kept the Shock close with 10 points in the latter part of the third quarter, and Jordan Hooper’s 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left gave the Shock a 58-57 lead going into the fourth. Tulsa roared out to a 71-63 lead in the final frame, which the Lynx closed to within three point before Diggins and Riquna William drained back-to-back threes to put the game out of reach.

ShockHighFiveThe six game win streak is a franchise best since the relocation in 2010 and the win over Minnesota gave the Shock sole position of first place in the WNBA’s Western Conference which is also a post-relocation franchise first.

Tipoff for Friday’s game against New York is at 7pm and it’s a 6pm start on Sunday against the Storm. Tickets are available on the shock website or at the BOK Center Box Office.