Shock ends season with convincing 84-71 win

It was a fitting send off on Saturday night as the Tulsa Shock played one of their best games of the season on fan appreciation night and defeated the Chicago Sky 84-71 to close out their inaugural season. A crowd of 6,321 caught a glimpse of what could be to come next season as rookie Marion Jones got her first career star and put together her best effort of the year, scoring 14 points in 23 minutes of playing time. Tiffany Jackson and Shanna Crossley led all scorers with 17 points each.

"I see it as coach having confidence that he could put me out there and that I’m going to bring the energy," Jones said of her first WNBA start. "It felt good to get my first start in the league then have it end with a win. It’s been a humbling experience, and I think I taught maybe some of the players that if you’re patient and you work hard, good things will come."

"She’s been proving herself every time she hits the floor," said Shock head coach Nolan Richardson. "She’s been a delight for me, and proves that I see things that others don’t."

Chicago got on the board first, taking a 3-0 lead before Jones led Tulsa on an 8-0 run. The Shock’s defense was also in full force, allowing the Sky 12 first quarter points while they connected on just five of 17 shots from the field. Offensively the Shock hit 61.5 percent of their shots from the field as they entered the first break with an 18-12 lead.

The Sky rebounded in the second quarter, using an 11-5 run to tie the game at 23-23 with just over five minutes remaining. The two teams then traded baskets and the lead as the minutes ticked down. Mistie Bass gave Chicago a 37-36 lead at halftime, sinking a pair of free throws with one second left. 

The Sky extended their lead to six points in the third quarter before the Shock went on a 7-1 run to pull back in front 57-56 entering the fourth.

Chicago would tie the game two more times, but it became clear in the closing minutes that this game would belong to Tulsa. Ivory Latta sparked a furious effort, scoring five points in the final two minutes as the crowd stood and cheered. The Shock powered their way through the final minute, adding five points to the scoreboard before Crossley dribbled out the remaining time on the clock to give the Shock a storybook ending to the season.

Richardson is already looking ahead to next season. "Watching them grow and seeing how tough the WNBA really is, that’s quite an experience," he said. "I’ve got to get two to three players with the core that we’ve got."

Shock president Steve Swetoha shared Richardson’s excitement for the future of the franchise. "This place was rocking with 6,300 people in the stands," he said. "It gives us a lot of confidence and a lot of opportunity and hope moving into 2011. We’re looking forward to next year, we’re already counting down the days."


Photos by: Kevin Pyle

Swetoha said that season tickets for the 2011 season are already on sale, and sales are going well. He pointed to the team’s $99 season ticket offer as an affordable option for fans to get their basketball fix next year. For season ticket information, contact the Shock office at 599-WNBA.



















Attendance: 6,321. Officials: Felicia Grinter, Lamont Simpson, Jeff Smith. Time of game: 1:52.

Chicago (14-20) – Fowles 16, Perkins 14, Bass 12, Prince 8, Thorn 7, Young 6, Canty 5, Thomas 2, Murphy 1.

Tulsa (6-28) – Jackson 17, Crossley 17, Jones 14, Latta 14, Robinson 8, Holt 8, Black 4, Ohlde 2.