Shock-Silver Stars Preview
Although their postseason hopes have been dashed, the banged-up San Antonio Silver Stars hope to finish strong.
A date with the Western Conference-worst Tulsa Shock may help that cause.
The Silver Stars look to beat the Shock for the 15th time in 18 meetings Sunday when they wrap up the season series in San Antonio.
Trailing by 18 points in the second half at Phoenix on Friday, the Silver Stars (11-20) pulled within two in the final minute before an 83-80 loss eliminated them from the playoffs for the first time since 2006. Danielle Adams had a game-high 26 points while Jia Perkins and Shenise Johnson each added 14.
"I thought we played well in the second half but obviously time ran out on us," said coach Dan Hughes, whose injury-ravaged club has dropped five of seven to fall out of postseason contention.
Sophia Young and Becky Hammon have played one game combined because of knee injuries, while fellow All-Star Danielle Robinson hasn't played since Aug. 21 due to her knee problem. Making matters worse, Davellyn Whyte recently went down for the season with a partially torn Achilles.
Perkins has tried to carry the load, averaging 19.3 points over the last three games and 4.0 steals over the past five. She's averaged 18.5 points in two wins over Tulsa this year and was held to six on 2-of-11 shooting in the Silver Stars' only loss in the season series.
Though San Antonio is 14-3 against the Shock (10-21) over the past four seasons, this year's three meetings have been decided by an average of 6.3 points.
Tulsa's Glory Johnson has averaged 16.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in the season series.
She led the way Friday with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but the Shock hit 34.8 percent from the field in a 74-70 loss to Los Angeles.
"I'm proud of their effort," said coach Gary Kloppenburg, whose squad has lost 12 of 16. "I felt they fought and battled, even though we struggled at the offensive end. The margin for our team is very slim, and we have to shoot the ball at a decent percentage."
The Shock might get some better looks against the Silver Stars, who have allowed opponents to shoot a league-worst 45.3 percent from the field. Tulsa, however, is expected to be without center Liz Cambage for the rest of the season with an ankle injury.
Guard Riquna Williams has provided a spark for Tulsa lately, averaging 18.8 points over her last four games. She led the Shock with 18 points in the most recent meeting with the Silver Stars, a 74-65 home loss Aug. 30.