TULSA, OK—When younger, Schoolhouse Rock taught us that eight is great. The Shock is there.
The Shock defeated the New York Liberty 71-62 on Friday night, and survived the Seattle Storm 93-89 on Sunday, giving them their seventh and eighth win of the 2015 WNBA season.
For the Tulsa Shock, once the afterthought of the WNBA, eight is not only great, but for them eight is historic. At the final horn on Sunday night, the Shock had won their eighth game in a row and tied franchise record all time win streak, which happened in 2003.
The win on Sunday also generated more firsts for Tulsa. The Shock is 5-0 at the BOK Center this season. The five-game home winning streak is the Shock’s first since the franchise relocated to Tulsa. The last time the franchise won five straight home games was in 2009 when the Detroit Shock reeled off eight straight home wins.
Both games were streetfights and very close, and Tulsa head coach Fred Williams counted them as teachable moments for his relatively young squad.
“Close is scary.” Williams said after Sunday’s game, “You know, you want to have close games, but you’d like them to be on your side of things. You want to make it exciting for the fans, too. I know that for us, you know, we can’t blow teams out anymore because the way it happens is that teams know a lot of plays that you run now, and you see a lot more close games.
“That’s in the books all the way around the league … Close games are good but it’s also a learning experience, too, for both teams. We learned a lot from that last year, and it’s carried over this year to give us some wins.”
In Sunday’s game Skylar Diggins scored 31 points and had a career high 21 points at the intermission. Her previous first half high was 16 at San Antonio which occurred July 22, 2014. She was just shy of her all-time scoring best in any half, which occurred at Atlanta on August 15, 2014 when she had 24. On Friday night against the Liberty, Diggins scored 9 points and had four assists.
On Sunday, Diggins was very proud of her teammates, and she echoes her coach’s thoughts on what it means going forward.
“It’s all about team, right?” She said, “We are playing like a team, in these tough, tough games, where we had to face a lot of adversity, I think it’s going to help us in the long run. And for us to be able to finish these games, we had three games, other than this one, where it could have gone either way, and we kind of locked down in the fourth quarter and focused.”
Another career milestone happened on Sunday night. Veteran Shock forward Plenette Pierson scored her 3500th point with 3:49 left in the second quarter. Pierson scored 19 points in the game but only needed eight to reach the milestone.
With the losses New York fell to 4-4 on the season and Seattle dropped to 2-7.
From here the Shock head out on a four game road swing that will take them to Seattle for a rubber match with the Storm tonight, then on to Phoenix and Los Angeles before finally heading to Atlanta. The next home game for the Shock is a July 11th game against the Los Angeles Sparks.