Cambage And Shock Hold Off Late San Antonio Rally
The Tulsa Shock need every win they can get as they chase a playoff spot.
Liz Cambage had 20 points and eight rebounds while Glory Johnson added 15 points and the Shock earned a 73-67 win over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday.
Candice Wiggins added 16 points for the Shock, including two key free throws with 7.2 seconds to go that sealed the win.
The Shock (9-18), who matched the team's highest victory total in their four seasons in Tulsa, had built a big advantage early and maintained a 20-plus point lead until late in the third quarter before having to fight down the stretch to secure the win.
"It's just good to get the win, even though it was very ugly,'' said Cambage, who scored nine points in each of the second and third quarters.
"People talk about making the playoffs, but that game, we just let them back way too easily.''
With seven games remaining, Tulsa faces Seattle twice as well as the Silver Stars two more times.
"You knew it wasn't going to be that easy,'' Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. ``You know how when teams get down, they're going to make a run, but I thought we made some plays down the stretch. We were happy to come out with a win any way we can get it. It's difficult to get wins in this league.''
Shameka Christon scored 18 points off the bench to lead the Silver Stars (9-17), who are 1-6 in their past seven road games and 3-11 on the year outside Texas. Shenice Johnson added 13 points, eight in the fourth quarter, and eight rebounds.
San Antonio missed guard Danielle Robinson, the WNBA's assist leader, with a strained right knee suffered in the Silver Stars' 80-63 loss at Indiana on Wednesday.
"It's always tough to have to sit out,'' said Robinson, who missed her first game of the year.
"It's been a tough year for our team as far as injuries, and it's always tough to see the team struggle a little bit coming out. But I think it was a great second half, we really showed some fight and competed. I'm proud of their effort.''
San Antonio's hopes of reaching the playoffs for the seventh straight year are in jeopardy.
Wearing special pink uniforms that were auctioned off after the game to support the battle against breast cancer, the Shock needed a strong finish to secure just their second win in their past six games.
Wiggins' fourth 3-pointer of the game with 2:11 left in the third quarter gave Tulsa a 57-37 lead, but the Silver Stars used a 10-2 run to close the period to get within 12 heading into the fourth.
San Antonio continued to chip away at the Tulsa lead throughout the fourth quarter, whittling its deficit to within seven with 3:21 remaining when Davellyn Whyte made a 3-pointer to make it 67-60.
But Tulsa responded with baskets by Cambage and Glory Johnson, pushing the edge back to double digits at 71-60 with 2:20 to go.
"We dug ourselves a hole,'' said Christon, who shot 5 of 9 from beyond the arc.
"We didn't have a great first half, but it definitely showed a lot of heart, a lot of character within this team in how we fought back. It didn't happen, but I think we can go home with our heads held high.''
Tulsa started off the game well.
After Whyte cut Tulsa's lead to 8-6 midway through the first quarter, the Shock reeled off a 22-2 run over the next 10-plus minutes to take control.
Glory Johnson's basket with 5:49 left in the second gave Tulsa a 30-8 lead en route to a 40-22 halftime advantage.
The Silver Stars' 22 points at the half marked the fewest points they've scored in any single half this season, as well as a season-low total allowed by the Shock in a half.
The 18-point deficit at the half also was the biggest of the season for San Antonio.