Shock falls short in opener

TULSA, OK. – The good news is that the Shock has finally arrived in Tulsa. The bad news? The Minnesota Lynx ruined the Shocks welcome party, as forward Charde Houston scored 21 points to lead the Lynx to an 80-74 win over the Shock in front of a sellout crowd of 7,806 at the BOK Center.

Houston was one of five double-digit scorers for the visiting Lynx who led most of the night, and at one point by as much as 16. Amber Holt led the Shock in scoring, coming off the bench to score 16. Rookies Marion Jones and Amanda Thompson saw limited action while coach Nolan Richardson concentrated on playing his veterans.

It was evident that nerves were present as the Shock players opened the game after being introduced to a fanfare that included pyrotechnics and loud music that drew an enthusiastic roar from the crowd. Tulsa had two turnovers within the first minute of play before Alexis Hornbuckle blocked a shot by Houston and dished the ball to Plenette Pierson for the first basket in Tulsa Shock history. The shock had eight turnovers and shot just 25 percent from the field during the first quarter.

"They were the most nervous bunch of ladies I’ve ever seen," Said Richardson. "Nervous energy is the worst you can have in basketball. When you airball layups, there’s gotta be something wrong."

Once the nerves appeared to subside, the Shock started displaying what the ’40 minutes of hell’ system was all about, picking up six steals in the second quarter as they tightened up defensively. Trailing by 16 points over half way through the second, Tulsa jumped on an 18-2 run over the final four minutes of the first half. The run produced a 36-36 tie at the half.

"We took the momentum into the dressing room at halftime and I thought we could continue, however we walked right out and turned the ball over a couple of times and they scored some baskets and the momentum immediately switched," said Richardson.

Minnesota jumped out to a two point lead to start the third before Shanna Crossley drained a three-pointer with 9:15 remaining to give Tulsa it’s first lead of the night. Minnesota, however, answered back with a 12-5 run to move ahead by six points near the half way point of the quarter. Minnesota would go on to outscore Tulsa 29-21 and take an eight point lead into the final quarter.

The Lynx expanded their lead to 13 with six minutes remaining before the Shock used a 9-2 run to pull back within six with just over two minutes left. From there, however, Minnesota would hold on to pull off the win.

On the night Tulsa shot just under 38 percent from the field while turning the ball over 22 times. Minnesota scored 20 points off of turnovers and hit 15 of 17 from the free throw line.

"We could never get a rhythm and could never overcome the mistakes that we were making," said Richardson. 

The veteran coach was pleased with his team’s effort, but knows there is a lot of work to be done. "I was proud of the young ladies, they played extremely hard," he said. 

"You’re never out of a ballgame when you play the kind of basketball you are capable of playing. Everything’s new to me and we’re all kind of learning as we go," he said.

"We’re going to get better, and we’re going to win some basketball games. We’re going to be there in the end.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Next up for the Shock is an 11:30 a.m. tip-off against the San Antonio Silver Stars on Thursday. 



















Minnesota – Houston 21, Wright 18, McCants 15, Maiga-Ba 10, Whalen 10, Anosike 5, Martinez 1

Tulsa – Holt 16, Pierson 13, Crossley 13, Lacy 12, Braxton 9, Black 8, Robinson 3

Officials: Byron Jarrett, Amy Bonner, Lamont Simpson. Time of game: 2:07. Attendance: 7,806