Ivory Latta puts up 22 points, Swoopes 13 as the Tulsa Shock grab 1st win at home.
Eight days ago, the look on Tulsa Shock head coach was akin to a child who had lost his dog. He did have good reason to feel that way as he had just watched his team drop a 93-62 game to the San Antonio Silver Stars in front of an impressive opening night crowd in the BOK Center.
It was a different story on Saturday night.
For the first time this season, the Tulsa Shock looked like the team Coach Richardson believed they could be as standout performances from Ivory Latta and WNBA veteran Sheryl Swoopes led the way for the Shock to hand the Washington Mystics a 77-59 defeat in front of 4,423 fans in the BOK Center.
“We were very happy to come home and win a basketball game,” Coach Richardson said after the game. “We had a very good ball game from start to finish and the group we had when we started the season started to come together and began to play well.”
Latta scored 14 of her eventual 22 points in the 3rd quarter and was 9-of-14 from the floor in field goalsin the game. Swoopes was a more modest four-of-eight from the field, but made all four of her foul shots and a 3-pointer.
Kayla Pedersen did the windows well, nabbing 7 rebounds, 6 of them on defense, and Liz Cambage put in nearly 16 minutes in her first start since suffering a concussion in the Shock’s loss at Connecticut on Sunday afternoon. Tulsa’s 6-foot-eight Aussie import went 3-6, made four foul shots and grabbed 3 boards. In all, the Shock had 5 players in double figures and shot 46.7% from the field and an even 60% from 3-point range.
Richardson was very complimentary of his ladies on Saturday. “There’s always satisfaction as a team when you win your first ball game,” he said, “When you start off on the road out of the first five games it’s very difficult when we are such a young team to come in here and win at home.
“It’s really gratifying because the most important thing is for the ladies not to feel as if the hard work they put in doesn’t count.” Richardson continued, “Tonight they were able to see and show how much they’ve been working and how much better we are as a basketball team.”
The Shock continue the three-game homestand on Tuesday night against last years WNBA Champions, the Seattle Storm at 7pm. They then take on the New York Liberty at 11:30am in the BOK Center when they face the New York Liberty in a morning matinee.
Tickets for the Tulsa Shock home games can be purchased online at the Shock website at wnba.com/shock or at the BOK Center box office at 2nd and Denver downtown.
Photo by Kevin Pyle.