Shock 94, Lynx 82
Tulsa coach Nolan Richardson's vaunted pressure defense might finally be catching on with the Shock.
Plenette Pierson and Shavonte Zellous each scored 14 points to help Tulsa earn its first victory of the season with a 94-82 win over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.
Chante Black had 10 points and 17 rebounds for the Shock, which led by as many as 21 in the third quarter en route to the franchise's first win since relocating to Tulsa in the offseason. Scholanda Robinson and Amber Holt each scored 12 points for the Shock (1-2).
``We still have a chance to be a pretty good team,'' Richardson said. ``There's a lot of stuff that I do as a coach that they are just now beginning to pick up. You could see some of the things, the traits that my teams used to do, I saw it in them tonight.''
Minnesota's Charde Houston scored 23 points to lead four Lynx players in double figures. Lindsay Whalen finished with 16 points. Nicky Anosike added 15 and Monica Wright scored 11.
Richardson's teams were known for their ``40 minutes of hell'' defense as he became the only coach in history to win junior college, NIT and NCAA national championships. In his first year as Tulsa coach, it might have taken some time for his players to adjust to the hectic pace, but a deep bench is allowing Richardson to play his style.
Tulsa held the Lynx to a season-low .324 shooting percentage. The Shock's trapping defense also caught Minnesota in trouble several times. The Lynx committed a season-high 23 turnovers.
The Shock played all 11 players, including 10 who played at least 10 minutes. Marion Jones played three minutes and went scoreless as she continues her first season in the WNBA.
``In order for us to play they way we play, you have to have at least 10 of them ready to play,'' Richardson said. ``You have to be able to bring it. When you can't, we're substituting you. I've been told it may not work in this league and it may not, but we're certainly going to try.''
Meanwhile, Tulsa was turning the defensive stops into easy offense. The Shock had several easy lay-up opportunities and scored 48 points in the paint. Tulsa outscored Minnesota 30-6 in fast-break points.
``Plain and simple, Tulsa beat us at their game, fast-break basketball,'' Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. ``We had no concept of getting back. It was no surprise to us the way they played. Our level of execution was non-existent.''
The Shock entered the fourth quarter leading 72-55 before Minnesota began to chip away.
The Lynx cut it to a 79-70 deficit, but Tulsa scored six straight points to pull away for good.
It was a stark contrast from the season-opener for both teams when Minnesota's defense held the Shock to 38 percent shooting.
The Lynx (1-3) continue to struggle while short-handed. Minnesota expects the return of Candice Wiggins and Rebekkah Brunson this week. Seimone Augustus is hoping to return in June.
``Our position all along is that it's not acceptable,'' Reeve said of the struggles. ``It's not acceptable. Candice and Seimone aren't going to go out there and be the answer to our problems.''