Tulsa coach Teresa Edwards put a good spin on her team's19th loss in a row on Tuesday.
“I feel like we won," said Edwards after the Lynx beat the Shock 78-72 at the BOK Center in Tulsa. "I am very proud of my team today. They put in four quarters. They played their hearts out.
"I thought the bench was effective," Edwards said, according to a postgame news release, "and I thought the starters started out just the way we asked them to start out. They extended the floor; they played hard; we hit shots. We had some rough spots, but those weren’t glaring as normal. We can build on this. I feel good about our chances of bringing in some victories.”
Tulsa is 1-24 now with eight games left.
Said 6-8 rookie center Liz Cambage, “We had a lot of energy the whole game. We played together as a team. At the start of the second, we were a bit down and that got us behind. But we were fighting and we just kept fighting. We are going to try and take this energy and this fight and finish off the season.”
Cambage had nine points and six rebounds as a reserve.
“We finally put it together," said Tulsa guard Ivory Latta, who had 10 points and seven assists. "It was a great effort. We played against a great team and great players. And, to be honest, they made some really tough shots. Our defense was on point. We had great rhythm. Everybody was on the same tune. It just felt good. I know we are going to continue to play like this and give our fans something to be excited about.”
Only 3,750 fans showed up Tuesday, but they had a reason to stay until the end. The Lynx finish 4-0 against the Shock this season, but this was the closest game.
“[The Shock] had a strong will to win that game, and that obviously made everything difficult for us," Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said. "I give Teresa Edwards a lot of credit. That time that they had off [one week before Sunday's game with LA], it was well spent.
"When a team has lost 18 straight games, you get a desperation. So we knew that this was going to be a team that was very passionate about what they were doing. I think when you go through that much adversity in one sason, it would very easy to kind of be frayed, and they are not. There is no question they are different in game four [against us] than in game one.”
Said Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson,“[The Shock] came out and they wanted it more than we did, and that is a problem that we had, but I think at the end of the day we got the win and that’s what matters.”
“We just wanted to play well tonight and solidify some things," said Lynx center Taj McWilliams-Franklin who scored a team-high 18 points. "I don’t think we were ready at the beginning of the game for the intensity and the desperation that Tulsa was going to play with. Every minute they were out there, they had us on our heels for, I would say, three quarters. And then at the end, those two [late] three-pointers had us down to wire.”
This was McWilliams-Franklin's 400th WNBA game, only five players had reached that milestone before.