In what became a battle between Notre Dame products Jewell Loyd and Skylar Diggins, the Tulsa Shock emerged victorious over the Seattle Storm by a final of 93-89 Sunday in Tulsa.
Loyd, who had struggled thus far in her rookie campaign, finally appeared to play up to the expectations placed on her as the number one pick in the draft. In 28 minutes off the bench, Loyd put up a career-high 21 points on 7-12 shooting while also contributing four rebounds and three assists.
"It felt good to see the ball go in," Loyd stated. "It was great having my teammates believe in me and get me the ball."
Despite her efforts, Loyd's breakout performance was eclipsed by her former Fighting Irish teammate, as Diggins poured in a season-high 31 points and added six assists for the Shock.
Seattle also received a career night from Ramu Tokashiki, who put up 21 points of her own, while also contributing three rebounds, two assists, and two blocks in the losing effort.
The loss marked the third straight game in which Seattle took a sizable lead into the fourth quarter only to see it wiped out in the final seconds.
What differentiated this loss from the others, however, was the absence of Sue Bird from the lineup. The 14-year veteran was banged up in the game the previous night against San Antonio, so she was held out of the lineup in order to rest.
"(It's) never what you want the case to be," Bird commented about sitting out. "But, to be honest, getting to watch our team play, was probably good for me. I saw how hard we are working and the strides we are making. I know it's not showing up in the win column, but we are playing teams very tough."
With Bird not in the lineup, it gave former Shock player Angel Goodrich the chance to make her Storm debut.
"It felt good," said Goodrich on her return to the BOK Center. "I know we have fallen the last couple games, but I think we are making progress, and that's really what it's all about."
Goodrich finished her first game in a Storm uniform with eight points and an assist in 11 minutes.
Along with the 31 of Diggins, Plenette Pierson (19 points, seven rebounds) and Riquina Williams (19 points, three steals) also reached double figures for the Shock. Karima Christmas and Courtney Paris scored seven and eight points, respectively and also both finished with nine rebounds.
Along with the 21 apiece from Loyd and Tokashiki, Seattle also received double-figure scoring from Crystal Langhorne (14 points, five rebounds) and Alysha Clark (11 points, two assists).