Fever-Shock Preview

The Associated Press

The Tulsa Shock have had a difficult time with the Indiana Fever in recent seasons. Considering the way the streaking Shock's frontcourt is performing, it could be a little easier Thursday.

Tulsa aims for its fourth straight victory as it hosts Indiana, which hasn't lost a game in this series in more than three years.

The Shock (6-13) were caught in a six-game losing streak, which included an 80-69 defeat at Indiana on June 28, but have since put themselves in position for the franchise's first four-game winning streak since Aug. 22-27, 2009.

Interior players Glory Johnson and Liz Cambage have keyed the surge. Johnson posted 24 points and 10 rebounds while Cambage went for 23 and 15, respectively, in a 90-63 home win over Atlanta on Sunday. It was the ninth double-double for Johnson and the third for Cambage as the duo combined to shoot 17 of 24 from the field.

"Glory and Liz were tremendous," coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "Both are power players offensively and are great at getting rebounds, particularly offensive boards."

The 6-foot-3 Johnson leads Tulsa in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 rpg). Cambage's emergence has been more recent, averaging 16.3 points and 13.3 boards during the three consecutive wins. That hot stretch comes after the 6-8 Australian center averaged 10.0 points and 5.8 rebounds in her first five games following a month-long absence for an ankle injury.

The Fever (7-9), meanwhile, rank near the bottom of the league with a minus-2.0 rebounding margin, and their leading rebounders - Erlana Larkins (7.4 rpg) and Tamika Catchings (6.5) - both stand 6-foot-1.

However, Indiana has dominated the Shock lately, winning all six meetings since a 79-74 defeat May 29, 2010. Three of those games were decided by more than 20 points.

The Fever had won six of seven overall before a 77-72 home defeat to New York on Tuesday. They lost despite leading by as many as 16 in the third quarter and getting a season-high 21 points from Briann January.

Indiana was held scoreless for the final 5:14 of the third and went 12 for 39 from the field in the second half. Catchings scored 16, becoming the WNBA's fifth player to surpass 6,000 points, but did so on 5-of-17 shooting.

"We didn't have the same desperateness that they did," coach Lin Dunn said.

Indiana still owns the league's top scoring defense, limiting opponents to 69.4 points per game. The Shock are allowing an average of 60.0 over their last three contests after surrendering 84.5 per game through the first 16.

Tulsa's win streak coincides with the removal of Skylar Diggins from the starting lineup after the rookie was scoreless in 25 minutes of a July 13 loss to Minnesota.

Catchings scored a season-high 28 in the teams' first meeting, while Nicole Powell paced the Shock with 21.