Shock finish first Tulsa season with rare winAug 22, 2010 - 3:20 AM By JEFF LATZKE AP Sports Writer
TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Handed a microphone in the Tulsa Shock's postgame celebration, Scholanda Robinson simply let out a jubilant scream for all to hear.
"That says it all right there," Robinson said.
After a frustrating first season in Tulsa after the franchise relocated from Detroit, the Shock had a reason to celebrate heading into the offseason.
Tiffany Jackson scored 17 points, former Olympic sprinter Marion Jones finished her rookie season with a career-high 14 points and the Shock snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday night by beating the Chicago Sky 84-71.
The Shock lost 25 of their last 27 games before finishing their first season in Tulsa with a victory that made them 6-28.
"Everybody wants to win their last one, and the fact that we finally gave all these fans the chance to celebrate with us, the last one, it couldn't really get better than that," Jones said.
"Except that we would have won and now be going to the playoffs. But that'll come."
Jones made her first career start and helped the Shock build an early lead, then made a fast-break layup at the end of the third quarter to put Tulsa up 57-56. The Shock wouldn't trail again.
Ivory Latta and Shanna Crossley had tiebreaking 3-pointers to put Tulsa back ahead in the fourth quarter, and the Shock finished the game on a 20-7 spurt.
"We play hard every night and we're much better than our record," Robinson said. "To see the fruits of our labor really, really felt good - especially the last game of the season."
Sylvia Fowles had 16 points to lead Chicago, which finished last in the Eastern Conference at 14-20. Jia Perkins scored 14 and Misty Bass added 12 points for the Sky.
"We kept it a close game, and when you're on somebody else's home court, you can't depend on other people to make game decisions for you," Perkins said. "I think we kind of shot ourselves in the foot by not trying to take a lead and build on it."
Crossley finished with 17 points for the Shock, who got a standing ovation from their home crowd. Only three teams in WNBA history have won fewer than six games in a season.
"It hasn't been the greatest of seasons, but you can see what there is to come," coach Nolan Richardson said.
Jones started out the season amid questions over whether her WNBA career was a publicity stunt for the disgraced former track star who was stripped of her five medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and for a team starting out in a new city.
She played only about 3 minutes in her debut, but in time developed into a reliable bench player. Richardson decided to reward her for the energy and desire she brought to the team, even as the losses continued to pile up, by putting her in the starting lineup.
"She's been proving herself every time she hits the floor. I'm saying, `Wow! It's just a matter of time,"' Richardson said.
Jones, who boosted her season average to 3.4 points, said she will continue to work on her game over the summer and she hopes to re-sign with the Shock.
"I absolutely want to continue to play. I don't think I've even come close to reaching my potential, and I know I have more in me to give," Jones said. "I hope I'm back here in Tulsa."
Jones had six points and two assists during a 14-6 run that put the Shock ahead in the first quarter. Her basket at the end of the third finished an 11-4 run that brought Tulsa out of its last deficit of the season.
"It's been a humbling experience and I've taught maybe some of the players the importance of being humble. If you're patient and you work hard, good things will come," Jones said.
"I think I'm a pretty good example of that."
Tulsa ended up with essentially an expansion team as few of the veterans of the franchise's three WNBA championship teams this decade made the move. Richardson, who is also the general manager, traded away the remaining players from the Detroit era in making the switch to his "40 Minutes of Hell" style that won him an NCAA title at Arkansas.
Finally, at the end of the year, came a bit of hope.
Latta answered Perkins' 3-pointer with one of her own from the right wing with 6:14 to play, and that ignited the final surge for Tulsa. Latta and Jackson finished it off with back-to-back fast-break layups to whip the crowd into a frenzy at the end.
"Hopefully we can build on this," Robinson said. "It's a great way to go out and hopefully we can have some carryover to next year."
FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
--- --- --- --- -----
CHICAGO 12 25 19 15 71
TULSA 18 18 21 27 84 FINAL
HIGH SCORERS: CHI - SYLVIA FOWLES 16, JIA PERKINS 14,
MISTIE BASS 12
TUL - SHANNA CROSSLEY 17, TIFFANY JACKSON 17,
TWO PLAYERS WITH 14
Aug 21 10:00 PM
TULSA 18 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 21 8:27 PM
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