By Troy Littledeer
"I just felt like that first half we kind of dug our hole," said Tulsa Shock head coach Gary Kloppenburg after the 102-92 Tulsa loss to the Atlanta Dream on Friday. "[Atlanta] is a really good scoring team, they have probably the premiere scorer in McCoughtry."
Atlanta's Angel McCoughtry led all scorers with her 24 and was one fo five Atlanta players to score double digits. Armintie Price finished with 19 on 8-of-10 shooting and rookie Tiffany Hayes had a career-high 15 points. Aneika Henry chipped in 14 on a perfect 7-for-7 effort and Cathrine Kraayeveld had 11 of Atlanta's 50 paint points. The Dream drained a season-high 61% of their attempts from the field for the game, and Tulsa seemed to take the view of watching the shooting show, rather than stopping it.
Kloppenburg added, "For whatever reason, I just didn't feel like we had that defensive energy we had against L.A."
In light of Tulsa's somewhat lackadaisical defensive effort, it shouldn't be allowed to cloud their season-high offensive output. The Tulsa Shock - a team that maybe just a couple of seasons no one would ever imagine scoring 90+ points a game - had six total Shock players reaching double-digit scoring despite two major offensive contributors - Jennifer Lacy and Scholanda Dorrell - sidelined with injuries.
Tulsa's rookie, Glory Johnson, as well as Ivory Latta both threw in 16 a piece. Riquna Williams had 15, but only shot 5-for-15 from the field. Former Stanford Cardinal, Kayla Pedersen, finished with a season high 14 points, shooting 4-for-6 from the line and grabbing a team-high eight rebounds to go along with four assists and two steals. Temeka Johnson struggled from the field, hitting just 3-of-10 attempts for 12 points, but assisted on eight other Shock buckets. Tulsa's newest member of the team and former Dream player, Courtney Paris, was 4-for-4 from the field, 2-for-4 from the line, had three offensive rebounds to finished with 10 points in only 12 minutes of playing time.
Atlanta jumped ahead by as many as 24 points in the third. Tulsa cut Atlanta's lead to 10 in the fourth quarter by opening the quarter on a 12-4 run. The Shock then cut the lead to just six points, 95-89, with 1:52 left in the game. But their early-game deficit was just too much to handle as Tulsa struggled to overcome the margin despite how great or small.