Nolan Richardson has his work cut out for him in Tulsa after the Shock lost three All-Stars from a year ago. Diana Taurasi and the Mercury are road dogs on Tuesday.
The Tulsa Shock picked up its first win of the season as 6 ½-point road dogs in Sunday’s 94-82 thrashing of the Minnesota Lynx. Nolan Richardson’s squad has a new look this season, and returns home for an ESPN2 Tuesday tip against the defending league champion Phoenix Mercury, who have a 0-2 spread record.
Shock center Chante Black notched a towering double-double in Sunday’s win with 10 points and 17 rebounds. Tulsa’s rebounding (10.3 RPG) and shot-blocking (3.3 BPG) leader played on the Connecticut Sun’s bench last year after being the league’s 10th overall draft pick in 2009.
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Amber Holt put up 12 points off the bench for the Shock and added three assists. The third-year forward leads her squad in scoring (13 PPG) and was sent with Black from the Sun in exchange for Tulsa’s 2010 seventh overall draft pick.
The combined 176 points soared above the ‘total’ of 160 ½. Tulsa led by as much as 21, and out-scored the Lynx in fast break points, 30-6.
The Shock may have been jolted with motivation heading into Sunday’s game after Friday’s first WNBA.com power rankings listed the team a dead-last 12th in the league. Tulsa’s new location in the league’s Western Conference combined with the loss of former All-Stars Cheryl Ford, Deanna Nolan, and Katie Smith are making this season a challenge.
Tulsa has yet to play on one day of rest, and is 0-2 (SU and ATS) at home. The ‘over’ is also 0-2.
The Mercury played their first two games one week apart, with the most recent being Saturday’s 95-89 overtime loss as 4 ½-point home favorites to the Seattle Storm.
Phoenix’s leading scorer and rebounder DeWanna Bonner (15.5 PPG, 9.0 RPG) logged a double-double off the bench with 24 points and 12 boards. The sensational second-year guard hit 7-of-12 from the field and sank 9-of-11 free throws. Expect Bonner to get more minutes this year with the departure of former Mercury mainstay Cappie Pondexter, who was traded to New York.
Four-time All-Star Diana Taurasi had six of the Mercury’s 24 turnovers before finishing with 13 points and four rebounds. The UConn alum’s squad shot 42.4 percent from the field, while holding Seattle to 39.4 percent.
The extra minutes of overtime were needed to send regulation time’s combined 164 points ‘over’ the 168-point ‘total.’ Phoenix was outscored, 13-7, in the added frame’s 20 points.
Corey Gaines’ crew has not played on the road yet this year. The Mercury were 14-7 ATS in 21 road games last season, with the ‘over’ 15-6.
Phoenix is 1-3 ATS in its last four regular season meetings with the Shock. The ‘total’ was split.
Pinnacle Sports opened Tulsa as a one-point betting odds home favorite for the 7 p.m. (ET) battle, but betting action quickly made 4 ½-point road chalk out of the Mercury. The ‘total’ was initially set at 173 ½, but was driven as high as 182 by early bettors, according to SBRodds.com.
The Mercury will have two days off before returning home for Friday’s inter-conference duel with the Atlanta Dream. Tulsa will be idle for three days before Saturday’s home clash against their former Eastern Conference rivals, the Indiana Fever, who eliminated the Shock from last year’s playoffs in three hard-fought games.
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