Sparks 95, Shock 79

Candace Parker lead the Sparks to a 95-79 victory over the Shock tonight with 33 points, eight rebounds, four assists, and a career-high nine blocks.

It was a better showing for the host team than their May 29 match up, which the Sparks won on a last-second bucket by Kristi Toliver. Tonight the Shock got out to a quick 6-0 start, and kept the game close throughout the first quarter. The Sparks lead only 28-23 at the end. In the second quarter, they opened up a larger lead and were ahead by 10 at halftime.

Game story.

Box score.

Game notes:

• The Sparks outshot the Shock 54.8 % to 37.2%.
• Parker set a career-high in blocks with 9. She was just one away from the franchise record of 10 blocks, which Lisa Leslie set on Sep. 9, 2004 against the Detroit Shock.
• The Shock only committed 11 turnovers, but the Sparks were able to translate those turnovers into 20 points.
• Temeka Johnson scored 11 points in the first quarter, but went scoreless for the remainder of the game.
• Parker scored 33 points on 14 of 21 field goals.
• Toliver scored half of the Sparks’ third quarter points (9 of 18). She also made all 14 of her free throw attempts.

Post-game quotes:

Sparks Coach Carol Ross

“I thought tonight our experience and being at home really helped us. Clearly we weren’t at our best. Tulsa brings it, they fight, they play hard, but we just had more fire power on the offensive end. We were able to take care of the ball better than the first time we played them.”

“One thing we tell them is you’ve gotta have each other’s backs. You’re not always going to have your best game.”

“Sometimes you can effect a game in the smallest of ways, and I thought enough people did that tonight to keep Tulsa at arm’s length.”

“Candace has a great gift. She is the leading shot blocker in the league. Tonight was a good example of why she is able to affect a lot of shots. She’s quick, she’s good, and has pure instincts when it comes to shot blocking. Her timing is phenomenal.”

Candace Parker

“We know our roles and we know that every game, we are going to have to have some sort of production from somewhere. I think that if you take someone away, someone else is going to step up. Nneka did a great job last game stepping up and playing well and Alana had a great game in San Antonio. It’s about making the right plays in the game and going with the flow.”

“I think that we were able to match their aggressiveness. Early on when we first played them, they basically punched us. This game, I think we battled and held our own. We know going into half time that they had a lot of offensive rebounds, and in the second half we limited that.”

Shock Coach Gary Kloppenburg

“We were a little soft defensively in the first half. In the second half, we at least fought them a little more, pressured them. But we have a really good team. They are just as talented as Minnesota. This team, as they develop and keep getting better, they have a chance.”

“We’re gonna keep fighting. I think we can catch one of these teams and we’ve got a nice home stand coming up so we’re going to try to get ready. It’s a good group, a resilient group. They’ve been able to keep their heads up and work hard in practice. If you persevere and stay positive good things will happen.”

“We’re getting better, and now we’re just dealing with some injuries. We only had Courtney for one practice, and I thought she did a good job. She’s someone we can utilize for sure.”

This a good chance for Courtney to get in the best shape she’s been in, so she can get stability in her career. I think it can work for her here. She wants to put in the extra work, and it’s a great opportunity for her here.”

“We’re going to try and rehab Jen (Lacy). Scholanda’s (Dorrell) been dealing with her knee all season. (Lacy) is kind of in a state of flux right now. She’s been playing really well.”

Glory Johnson

“We have a couple players hurt, and a couple new players, so it’s hard. We’re trying to figure out each other and make up for players that aren’t there. The two new players don’t know our defense, so it’s difficult and we need more practice getting them used to it.”

“We need to talk to each other more on the court, and rotation has to be there. It was hard because people didn’t know where to go, and didn’t get there fast enough. We need to trust each other and we have a lot to work on.”

Tonight’s other game:

Mercury 80, Mystics 77

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