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Topic: Tulsa

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September 6, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Live game thread: Tulsa at Seattle

STORM WINS: It stinks to have your bubble burst. Tulsa wore that expression after a 101-74 loss at KeyArena, the team’s first blowout of the season. Days from the highs of upsetting Los Angeles and Atlanta while hanging close to Minnesota before a loss, the Shock must have felt they were playing the US Olympic team with Jackson in the middle on Thursday. Jackson was enough on her own, it seemed. She turned passes to the chest into buckets and silky feeds from Wright into open three-pointers and jumpers to finish with 23 points in 14 minutes. “Everybody is getting used to playing with one another again,” said Jackson, who played in her fifth WNBA game since joining the team after the Olympics. “Some of the passes were unbelievable from everyone. I just think that if we keep getting better, who knows what our potential will be.” Consistency has been the theme all season. The Storm’s magic number is two to advance to a WNBA-record ninth consecutive playoff berth. But Wright warned playing better headed into any postseason appearance is more important. Seattle (12-14) departs for a four-game road trip on Friday. It finished its seven-game home stand at 3-4. Here’s a list of records set against the Shock (6-21): Little had a career-high seven assists. Seattle had a franchise-high 29 assists and shot a franchise-high 59.7 percent from the field. It was the team’s fifth 100-plus game. The Storm tied its most three-pointers in a game (14), Strick going 4-for-5 from downtown. The teams combined to make 27 three-pointers, the most in WNBA history. Whew. “It was just a lot of confusion on the floor,” Johnson said of defending the Storm. Latta led the Shock with 18 points and rookie Riquna Williams had 17 off the bench. “We definitely have to have a huge turnaround when they come to our house (Saturday),” Johnson continued.
BREAK TIME: The answer to the last post is yes. The Storm outscored the Shock 26-9 in the third quarter for a 79-49 lead. Jackson put up Jackson numbers with 23 points. Bird and Thompson have 11 points apiece and Bird has no assists. Latta leads Tulsa with 15 points and rookie Johnson has 14 with four rebounds. Storm coach Brian Agler has gone to his deep reserves to close out the game — unless something crazy happens. You never know. There was a blue moon this week. Anyway, I’m out to write the newspaper version.
DOOR SHUT?: Jackson nailed a three-pointer off a feed from Wright to give Seattle a 60-40 lead with 8:17 remaining in the third quarter. You might call “Game.” But the Shock is known for scrapping until the end.
TIME!: Shock coach Gary Kloppenburg needed a timeout with 9:05 remaining in the third quarter after his posts were blitzed by two easy scores inside. Little and Jackson worked the ball to get the layin for Jackson. The Storm is up 57-40. Little has six assists and Jackson has a game-leading 17 points. Probably don’t need to point this out, but it’s the Aussie’s season-high.

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September 6, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Game Day: Tulsa at Seattle takes WNBA center stage

SeattleStorm.pngThe Storm (11-14) had a week to prepare for a key home-and-home set against Tulsa (6-20). But Seattle coach Brian Agler said most of the work was on team chemistry.
Despite most of the players outside of rookies Shekinna Stricklen and Alysha Clark having played together in some capacity before, the veterans haven’t hit a groove for the Storm. MVP Lauren Jackson recently joined the team, C Ann Wauters (Achilles) and F Tina Thompson (knee) suffered injuries while PG Sue Bird dealt with WNBA and Olympic duties. It’s left G Tanisha Wright and F Camille Little to carry the load and Bird to go into scoring mode, averaging a team-high 13.0 points.
“We need to figure it out quick,” Bird said after a 75-68 loss to Phoenix last week. “There are only nine games until the end of the season and that’s not a lot of time.”
If Seattle were to win against Tulsa in both meetings and Phoenix (6-20) loses at Connecticut (20-7) on Friday, the Storm would clinch a WNBA-record ninth consecutive playoff berth. Yet, it would mean little if the chemistry remains off center. Not something expected when Agler pieced together another star-studded roster last spring.
“It’s not a typical season for what we’ve been through in the past,” said Wright, whose 7-6 record at KeyArena nearly matches the combined losses at home (seven) since Agler was hired in 2008.

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August 29, 2012 at 6:39 PM

Aussie to Aussie: Storm All-Star Lauren Jackson speaks with Tulsa’s Liz Cambage

OpalsLizLJ.jpgIn the latest episode of “As the WNBA Turns,” Australian Olympian Liz Cambage has opted not to honor her contract to return to the Tulsa Shock. Citing fatigue to Aussie press, Cambage didn’t board her flight Monday.
”Monday morning came and I just couldn’t do it, I couldn’t go,” she said. ”It was last-minute and I’m sorry for that. To be honest, it was unfair on the team and the rest of the girls (the Shock)to come over when I wasn’t 100 per cent.”
The Shock (5-19) defeated Atlanta 84-80 on Tuesday. The Dream (12-13) are in the midst of their own set of problems. But in terms of Cambage, it’s almost understandable why she didn’t return.
Tulsa has 10 games remaining, departing for a two-game road trip Friday. The matchup at Minnesota is actually the back-end of a back-to-back playing at Los Angeles on Thursday — a game heavily billed as Cambage’s big return.
Technically, it is a lot of travel, as Cambage expressed to ESPN via phone on Wednesday. Australian Olympians were whipped around their country, the Opals winning bronze in the London Games. Cambage made history with women’s basketball’s first dunk and capped celebrations with her 21st birthday bash Aug. 18.

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June 1, 2012 at 6:40 PM

Live game thread: Tulsa at Seattle in battle of winless teams

STORM WINS: The postgame locker room was finally jovial, the Storm winning 76-58 on Friday. Big stats were Seattle pairing down turnovers to 11 against a team that entered forcing a WNBA-best 26.7. Seattle also hung onto its late lead, not letting the feisty Shock use its defensive pressure to wiggle back in the game and steal a win. Most importantly is the team is visibly getting more comfortable with each other. They had another solid stretch of practice in between games and you could see Wright finding a groove with Little and Agler trusting Kobryn or Stricklen with minutes. Alysha Clark even saw five minutes. “We’re getting more and more comfortable with each other, so that tentativeness is disappearing,” Bird said. She led all scorers with 27 points on 9-for-15 shooting while Little added 19 points and nine boards and Wright had a team-leading four assists. Lacy led the Shock off the bench with 12 points and R. Williams added 11 on 3-for-11 shooting. But Tulsa’s backcourt had five of the team’s total 16 for 13 Storm points. “We just stalled out offensively in the third quarter,” said Kloppenburg, whose team went about six minutes in the second half getting ran over by Seattle. “You can’t do that against a team like the Storm because they have so many weapons. Fatigued set in with us and we didn’t have as much pressure as we’ve had lately.” Tulsa remains winless at 0-5 while Seattle improves to 1-3 and leaves Saturday for a five-game road trip starting in Los Angeles.
BREAK TIME: I’m sure this game will seesaw in the fourth quarter, but I’m out to write the daily story. Check the Twitter feed (@JaydaEvans) for the final score I’ll be back after postgame interviewing for a wrap.
STILL UP: Tulsa’s signature defensive pressure was turned up a couple of notches out of the timeout, inching the team within three points of Seattle’s lead. But a three-pointer by C Eva Kobryn and a teardrop shot by Bird has the home team up 55-46 with 1:15 remaining.
BIRD RACIN: The Storm went on a 10-3 run to pull ahead 48-42 with 5:16 left in the third quarter and get the Key rockin. Bird, Little and Wright worked well in getting the surge going, Little nailing a three-pointer followed by one by Bird. Later Wright had a smooth look to Little inside the paint, instead of continuing to charge inside herself and risk a foul or miss. Kloppenburg finally had seen enough when Bird had Jennifer lacy spinning in trying to defend a jumper with 5:17 on the clock.

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June 1, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg returns to play former Storm

Klopp.jpgOnce again the Storm is in an unusual position this WNBA season. It’s facing a burgeoning Tulsa Shock (0-4) that’s winless like Seattle (0-3). A particular matchup that’s so rare, even when you take into account the Shock’s former Detroit history, Seattle has never played the team with even a sub-.500 record.
And this Tulsa team might as well be one of those Detroit lineups. Unlike Seattle, Tulsa lost two of its games because one of its buzzer-beating shots was waved off and another by Los Angeles eeked in before the horn to nullify a standout night by rookie Riquna Williams (19 points) and the Shock defense forcing 28 turnovers.
Seattle really only had one game it let slip away, when it led the Sparks by 21-points in the season-opener and lost 72-66.
“They’re itching for a win and so are we,” Storm guard Katie Smith said of Tulsa. She starred for the franchise when it was in Detroit, winning two of its three overall titles. “We all know that (LA) game was winnable. Give props to LA for playing hard through the whole thing, but we’re disappointed in the way we did. The other two games? We didn’t quite have that big of a lead and weren’t in much control of those games.”
You could say Tulsa was always in control. With former Storm assistant coach Gary Kloppenburg (pictured right) at the helm after four seasons as an assistant in Indiana, he’s improved the defensive identity of the team and added some veteran pieces in PG Tameka Johnson that have the team losing by 3.7 points this season. Last year the Shock lost by an average 12.9 points.
But the team is shooting a WNBA-worst 37.3 percent from the field. It also missed five free throws in the final two minutes of the loss Tuesday to the Sparks, clearing a way for PG Kristi Toliver’s heart-piercing three-pointer.

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