TULSA — Nicole Powell earned her first start of the season for the Tulsa Shock on Thursday, and the WNBA veteran responded in a big way.
Powell had a season-high 18 points and Riquana Williams came off the bench to score a team-high 21 as the Shock snapped a three-game losing skid with a 83-74 decision over the Chicago Sky.
“That was coach’s call and I thought the team was very supportive,” Powell said. “My teammates set me up and I was able to knock down some shots.”
Powell finished 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, including a 3-pointer following a timeout with 5:55 to play that extended Tulsa’s lead to 73-65. Chicago got no closer than five points the rest of the way.
“When you’re 1-7, you have to do something to shake things up,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. “Nicole is a former All-Star who can shoot the ball very well. It was time to make that change and get her in the starting lineup.”
While Powell was starting, Williams was once again coming off the bench to be an offensive force for Tulsa (2-7). For the second consecutive game, Williams was strong from beyond the 3-point line, hitting 3-of-6 attempts. Her performance against Chicago followed a 28-point outburst when she nailed six three-pointers in a 108-103 overtime loss to Phoenix.
Williams, who didn’t score in the first or fourth quarters, logged her final points of the day with a 3-pointer just before the third-quarter buzzer to push Tulsa to a 68-61 edge. Williams had 12 of Tulsa’s 27 points in the third period.
Tulsa (2-7) gained a split in the regular-season series with Chicago (4-3) with the win. The Sky lost their third straight road game.
“They were tougher today. They were more physical and had us on our heels,” Chicago coach Pokey Chatman said. “They beat us in the toughness areas. If there was a loose ball, they were getting it. They played hard.”
Chicago was paced by Sylvia Fowles, who had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
Chicago hit four of its first five shots, including a pair 3-pointers from Epiphanny Prince, to take a 10-1 lead with 7:43 to play in the opening period.
Following a timeout, the Shock pieced together a 17-3 run and set the stage for close first half with two ties and three lead changes. Candice Wiggins broke one those ties by sinking a jumper at the buzzer to give Tulsa a 41-39 edge heading into intermission.
Chicago took its final lead of the day midway through the third quarter on a Fowles jumper, but Wiggins responded with a 3-pointer and Angel Goodrich stole the ensuing inbounds pass and hit a layup to give Tulsa a 58-55 edge. Goodrich, a former Sequoyah standout, played 12 minutes in the game and logged three points, three steals and two assists.