After earning their first win in 10 months, the Tulsa Shock can turn their focus toward ending a lengthy losing streak away from home.
The Shock head to the site of their most recent road win Wednesday night, facing a Los Angeles Sparks team they nearly defeated at Staples Center last month.Tulsa (1-9) ended a 15-game skid Sunday with an 87-75 victory over Phoenix, the team that started the Shock on their losing streak Aug. 30. Temeka Johnson scored 13 of her team-best 22 points in the fourth quarter, and rookie Riquna Williams had 15 of her career high-tying 19 points during that period."I thought we played great in the fourth quarter," coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "We got some defensive stops in the fourth quarter and that gave us a little cushion. We finished with 25 (forced) turnovers. That's a good number for us."Tulsa has dropped eight straight on the road dating to a 77-75 win over Los Angeles on Aug. 26. The Shock followed with a victory over Connecticut two days later for one of the franchise's two win streaks since relocating from Detroit.Tulsa's attempt to record a third two-game win streak will come against the Sparks (8-3), whose 5-0 start at home is their best since winning their first seven in 2006. Minnesota is the only other team currently unbeaten on its own floor.Los Angeles routed Washington 101-70 on Monday in its latest game at Staples with rookie Nneka Ogwumike providing 24 points and seven rebounds in her return. The No. 1 overall draft pick missed a 98-85 loss in San Antonio on Saturday to take part in her graduation from Stanford."Nneka is quick; she's athletic," coach Carol Ross said. "She's able to do a lot of things defensively. It allows (Candace) Parker to do a lot of things defensively, as well. They're a good tandem on the defensive end as well as the offensive end. It's great to have her back. I asked her if she was going to be a much smarter player now that she has that degree with that diploma in her hand. I think she was."Ogwumike was one of five Los Angeles players in double figures (14 points) during a visit from Tulsa on May 29, but the Sparks needed Kristi Toliver's 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 76-75 victory. Toliver committed a WNBA-record 14 turnovers, and the Sparks had 28.Williams scored 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting in that game, but her Tulsa teammates were a combined 17 for 53 from the floor (32.1 percent).