MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — With nine games remaining in their season, the Tulsa Shock hope that Friday night’s win can propel them to a strong finish — and maybe even a playoff berth.
Liz Cambage had 27 points and eight rebounds to lead Tulsa to an 83-77 win over the Minnesota Lynx.
Nicole Powell, Angel Goodrich, Candice Wiggins and Skylar Diggins each added 11 points for the Shock (8-17), who ended a three-game losing streak and beat Minnesota for the first time in the last 15 meetings. Tiffany Jackson-Jones had 10 points.
“It just kind of gives us a boost,” Goodrich said. “We came together and we want this to be our strong run.”
Seimone Augustus scored a season-high 29 points for the Lynx (17-6), who have lost three in a row, including back-to-back home games for the first time since August 2010.
“You have a desperate team trying to make the playoffs and our goal was to be more important than any team that we are playing, so our sense of urgency should have been much higher,” said Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve. “For whatever reason it is not.”
Tulsa, which began the night 4 1/2 games behind Seattle for the fourth playoff spot in the Western Conference, plays six of its final nine games at home.
“We feel like we can make a run,” said coach Gary Kloppenburg. “This is great for a young team to come in and beat a high-level team from a confidence level.”
Despite its slide, there is no panic among the Lynx.
“There’s always something to learn from every game,” said Maya Moore, who finished with 14 points. “We just have to fix the little things.”
Defensive interior play would be a good place to start.
Tulsa had a 40-30 points in the paint advantage, one game after Chicago held a 38-22 advantage over Minnesota. When the Lynx collapsed low, Cambage and others kicked it out to teammates for quality looks. The Shock shot 50 percent from the field.
“Everything just finally came together tonight,” said Cambage, who played a season-high 35 minutes and 31 seconds. “We were working as a team, everyone was hitting shots. If I got doubled, we could hit the outside shot and if they left it open, I could go to work. It was just a good team game.”
Both teams were missing a top player: Tulsa leading scorer Glory Jackson sat out with a concussion, while Minnesota played without leading rebounder Rebekkah Brunson, who has a right knee injury and is considered day to day. However, Lynx center Janel McCarville returned after missing two games with a concussion.
McCarville and Amber Harris most often had the task of defending the 6-foot-8 Cambage. The duo combined for 10 fouls and just three points in 32-plus minutes.
“Our posts needed to stay out of foul trouble, maybe they would have played better,” Reeve said.
Up by two at intermission, Cambage scored five points during a 14-0 run that put the Shock up 60-48 midway through the third quarter, their largest lead of the game.
Minnesota went on a 7-0 run to pull to 74-69 with 4 minutes left, but the Lynx got no closer until 18.5 seconds remained.
With a second quarter basket, Augustus became the 19th player in league history to surpass 4,000 career points, doing so in 213 games. Only Diana Taurasi (197), Cappie Pondexter (208) and Lauren Jackson (209) achieved the total quicker.
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