Storm knocks off Shock, 76-67
Shekinna Stricklen scored a career-high 26 points and Tina Thompson added 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Seattle.
Special to The Seattle Times
TULSA – In a game that felt like a playoff contest, the Seattle Storm served notice that it doesn’t intend to just show up in the postseason.
Shekinna Stricklen scored a career-high 26 points and pulled down seven rebounds, while Tina Thompson added 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Storm to a 76-67 triumph over the Tulsa Shock Thursday night.
Seattle (16-17) had lost all three prior meetings to the Shock (11-22) this season by an average of 19.3 points per game.
“You always want to go into the playoffs with a little bit of momentum,” said Storm guard Tanisha Wright, who scored 15 points — eight in the final 3:26 — while dishing out six assists and registering five rebounds. “But more importantly, we hadn’t been able to get a win against this team, so it was nice to be able to come in here and get a win against them.”
After dropping its previous three contests, all to league-leading Minnesota, their opponent when the playoffs begin next week, the Storm was able to seize control of the game down the stretch for the victory.
“It was good to get ready to go into the playoffs after a game like this with some confidence,” said Stricklen, who shot 10 of 13 from the field, including 6 for 8 from beyond the arc. “Every game counts no matter what, but we’re really trying to finish out the season with a .500 record and go into the playoffs on a winning note.”
Both clubs close out the regular season at KeyArena Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Storm opens its postseason on Sept. 20 at Minnesota, while Game 2 will be a home game for the Storm on Sept. 22 at 2 p.m. That game won’t be at KeyArena, though. Due to a scheduling conflict, the contest will take place at the Tacoma Dome. Tickets go on sale Monday at 9 a.m.
During a see-saw fourth quarter, Tulsa pulled ahead 60-59 on Candice Wiggins’ lay-up with 4:36 remaining, but the Storm battled back. Wright capped off a 9-0 run with 2:50 on the clock to push Seattle ahead 68-60.
Tulsa pushed back, though, pulling to within 70-67 on Jennifer Lacy’s three-pointer with 1:21 to go.
Wright answered with a long jump shot just before the shot clock expired to make it 72-67 with 37.7 seconds left.
“There was a lot of action, we had a couple of people hit some big shots, with Shekinna and Tanisha and Tina, they all made big plays,” coach Brian Agler said. “And then we got a series of stops to close the deal.”
One game after setting the WNBA’s single-game scoring record with 51 points, Tulsa’s Riquna Williams was limited to just five in the first half, but helped by a third-quarter burst of 10 points, Williams ended up with 17 overall.
“We knew we had to give her some attention,” Agler said of Williams. “She’s obviously an electric scorer. You can’t let her get in a rhythm.”
After Lacy hit a three-pointer with 7:46 left in the second quarter to give Tulsa a 28-21 advantage, Seattle reeled off a 15-2 run over the next seven minutes.
The Storm maintained a lead of between four and eight throughout most of the third quarter, but Williams sank consecutive layups and Roneeka Hodges hit a three-pointer early in the fourth to push Tulsa back on top 51-49.