A surprise or two in tonight’s game results

The Dream used defense to dominate and defeat the Fever, 70-58.

The Storm beat the Mystics again, 79-71.

And surprisingly (I’m not going for the obvious pun), the Shock thrashed the Sparks 91-75.

What is “wrong” with the Sparks? Some have asked.

They’re tired, and they’ve tweeted that they are. They’re road weary, and they’ve tweeted that too. They’ve had a lot of back-to-back games, which not all teams have had. They’ve also faced many of the same teams multiple times. In short, the WNBA has had to cram as many games as possible into the first half of the season before breaking for the Olympics. It’s part of the hefty price paid by female basketball players.

Other factors? We don’t know – we’re not on the team.

Game notes and quotes, courtesy of Shock HQ:

Final Score: Tulsa Shock 91 Los Angeles Sparks 75
Sparks 10-5 / Shock 2-11

Game Leaders

Tulsa Shock

Points: Riquna Williams 27

Rebounds: Pedersen/G. Johnson 6

Assists: Ivory Latta 8

Los Angeles Sparks

Points: Kristi Toliver 21

Rebounds: Ogwumike/Lavender 7

Assists: Kristi Toliver 7

Game Notes

Tulsa Shock

· Tulsa trailed by one point, 5-4, at the 7:35 mark in the first quarter. Tulsa never trailed after that point in the game.

· Tulsa closed the first quarter on a 13-2 run. Riquna Williams scored seven points in the run, which went from 2:53 left in the first quarter until the end.

· The Shock led 48-25 at the half, their biggest lead at the half of the season, squashing their previous held six.

· The Shock closed out the 3rd quarter on an 11-0 run which was sparked by seven points by Riquna Williams.

· Tulsa set a new mark for its largest lead of the season at 27 points. This is also the largest lead the Shock have ever had since moving to Tulsa in 2010. Tulsa led the Sparks 74-47 with 9:27 left in the fourth quarter.

· Riquna Williams scored 27 points in the game, a new career- and season-high for her. Her 27 points are the most points scored by any rookie so far this season and the most scored by any Shock player so far this season.

· The Shock shot 49.3 percent from the field which is a new team season-high for field goal percentage in a game.

Los Angeles Sparks

– Los Angeles scored a first half season-low 25 points. Their previous low was 28 points.

– The Sparks went on a 14-4 run from 6:43 until 4:18 in the third quarter to cut the Shock lead to 58-45.

– Candace Parker was held to a season-low two points in a season-low 21 minutes.
Kristi Toliver scored 21 points and had seven assists, both of which led her team. She scored 10 of her 21 points in the third quarter.

Shock Quotes

Head Coach Gary Kloppenburg on the Shock’s win

“Anytime you shoot almost 50 percent, 42 percent from threes, your energy on defense is rewarded. That’s the thing we’ve been struggling with is shooting the ball well. We’ve been playing really tough defense. When the ball goes through the net like that, it energizes you at the other end. We just seemed like we got into a flow. Of course Riquna stepped up huge and had an unbelievable game with 27 points. I thought Amber Holt came in off the bench and really helped us scoring, rebounding and she had four assists as well. It was a rewarding effort after the tough games we’ve been through. It was very rewarding for us and hopefully we’ve got something we can build on right here.”

Forward Glory Johnson on the game

“We were leading the majority of the game and it feels so good because all that work that we did in practice and the games that we’ve lost by this much, it all pays off now. It all goes to our defense. Working on our defense that’s what started it and the offense came. We played great defense and we got the ball, that’s when our offense came so it’s really good.”

Guard Temeka Johnson on the Shock’s play

“It always feels good to get a win but the way we won tonight is fantastic. Riquna stepped up big. It was a collective effort against a very, very talented team. I’m excited about it.”

Sparks Quotes

Head Coach Carol Ross on her team’s third quarter run that cut Tulsa’s lead from 20 to 13

“I thought we had the right mindset to make a run, but to Tulsa’s credit they responded and hit some big shots. Those shots put us back in a reactionary state again.”

Coach Ross on the difference in the game

“I thought their guard play was phenomenal. Their three guards, Williams, (Temeka) Johnson, and Latta, scored 59 points combined. They are explosive, they are quick, and they are aggressive. We did not respond well. They were just very, very good.”

Coach Ross on playing Tulsa again in the future

“Fortunately, I’ve got a little while to think about that. Clearly, we have to play better. We can’t let (Tulsa) take over the court, which I thought they did. I think we see them after the break, so we’ve got some time to make my team better.”

Forward Nneka Ogwumike on the game

“I think we came out ready to play, but we just didn’t sustain it. I felt like the third quarter was definitely different. At halftime, Coach Ross said that there was still 20 minutes left to play. At times, they were getting a lot of the hustle plays and the 50/50 balls. That changes the momentum of the game.”

Congratulations to veteran Sparks forward Delisha Milton-Jones, who passed the 5,000-point mark for her career, and the Mystics’ Monique Currie, who surpassed 2,000 career points tonight.

These power rankings were done before today’s games.

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