Taurasi leads Mercury past Shock, 110-96

TULSA, OK. – The Tulsa Shock , two days off of their first win of the season, returned to the BOK Center Tuesday night for a nationally televised game with the defending WNBA champion Phoenix Mercury. The Shock put together a solid effort, but a breakout game by reigning league MVP Diana Taurasi sealed a 110-96 win for the road team in front of a crowd of 4,100. Taurasi led all scorers with a season-high 35 points, including a WNBA record-tying eight three-pointers, while teammate Penny Taylor added 29 points and seven assists for the Mercury.

Despite the final score, the Shock stayed within striking distance until deep into the final quarter when the Mercury were able to pull away to a comfortable lead. Tulsa shot a season-high 47 percent from the field while out-scoring Phoenix 48-28 in the paint and 18-9 on the fast break. Amber Holt logged 26 minutes after coming off the bench to lead the Shock with 20 points.

Things appeared to be starting off the same for the Shock as they did in their two previous home games as the Mercury jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after a pair of baskets by Candice Dupree in the opening minute of play. Tulsa, however, battled back and took a 7-4 lead after Alexis Hornbuckle added a jumper and a trey and Shanna Crossley capitalized on a Phoenix turnover sinking a jumper at the 7:57 mark.

Taurasi then took over for Phoenix, sinking three treys within two minutes, sparking an 11-2 Mercury run. Tulsa would get within three points twice before Taurasi and company pulled away to a 35-23 lead at the end of the quarter. Phoenix hit seven of nine three-pointers, with Taurasi accounting for 15 points while hitting five of five treys.

The Mercury pulled away to a 16 point lead with just under eight minutes left in the second before the Shock would reel them back in. Tulsa used a 12-2 run to even the score at 48-48 on a Crossley layup with 2:58 remaining. The two squads then traded baskets the rest of the way as Phoenix entered the locker room with a 58-53 halftime lead.

The Shock stepped up the defensive pressure in the second quarter, holding Taurasi to just three points in over nine minutes of playing time. Taylor stepped up for the Mercury, hitting three of five from behind the arc. Scholanda Robinson paced the Shock with eight points as the team shot a respectable 56.8 percent from the field in the first half and out-scored the Mercury 30-23 in the second quarter.

Phoenix continued their up-tempo play in the third quarter as they tried several times to pull away from Tulsa. The Shock kept up with the pace nicely, pulling within one point on two occasions thanks in part to Plenette Pierson who scored eight points off the bench.  Natasha Lacy tied the game at 80-80 on a layup with 2:38 left, only to see the Mercury ride a 7-0 run into the break for an 87-80 lead.

The outlook was promising for the Shock in the fourth quarter, as Crossley sank a three-pointer just over a minute in to pull within four points. Unfortunately for the Shock, they would not be able to get any closer. Tulsa went on to shoot just 24 percent from the field in the final quarter while their counterparts hit 9 of 17 for 53 percent.

Even though the game goes down as a loss, there are many positives that can be found in the numbers. Holt continues to be a major factor off the bench, their field goal percentage is getting closer to where it needs to be, the number of points scored on the fast break are rising and most importantly, the team seems to be buying into coach Nolan Richardson’s system. 

Next up for the improving Shock (1-3) is a home game against the Indiana Fever (2-2) at 7 p.m. Saturday at the BOK Center. Tickets are available at the BOK Center box office, online, or by calling 1-877-90-HOOPS.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle


 Phoenix (2-1)






Tulsa (1-3) 






Phoenix – Taurasi 35, Taylor 29, Dupree 14, Bonner 10, Smith 9, Swainer 7, Johnson 4, Ohlde 2.

Tulsa – Holt 20, Robinson 13, Crossley 13, Black 12, Pierson 11, Lacy 9, Braxton 8, Hornbuckle 5, Thompson 3, Zellous 2.

Officials: Brenda Pantoja, Clarke Stevens, Eric Brewton. Time of game: 2:09. Attendance: 4,100.