A lineup change sparked the Tulsa Shock to their first home win of the season earlier this week.
With his team off to another lackluster start, Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg gave Powell her first start of the 2013 on Thursday. She responded with a season-high 18 points and eight rebounds in an 83-74 win over Chicago.
“When you’re 1-7, you have to do something to shake things up,” 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.”
Riquna Williams also shined once again off the bench by scoring a team-best 21 points after putting up a career-high 28, including six 3-pointers, in a 108-103 overtime loss to Phoenix on Sunday. Williams is averaging 17.0 points and has done her best to help the Shock (2-7) overcome injuries to leading scorer Liz Cambage (ankle) and Tiffany Jackson-Jones (leg).
Prior to Thursday, Tulsa’s only other win came against Seattle on June 7. Williams sat out with an undisclosed injury and star rookie Skylar Diggins scored six of her 12 points in the final 2:21 of a 67-58 victory to snap a 10-game skid in the series.
Diggins, who made three of her eight shots in that game, is shooting just 29.5 percent this season and is 4 of 21 (19.0 percent) from 3-point range. The point guard, though, had a career-best 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting in the loss to Phoenix.
She missed five of six shots against Chicago and finished with five points.
Seattle continued to show that it’s adjusting without a pair of star players in Friday’s 91-86 victory at San Antonio - its third win in a row. Camille Little had season highs of 23 points and 10 rebounds while Tina Thompson scored 10 of her 21 points in the final 5:07.
Thompson, the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer, had a season-high 30 points in a 96-86 victory against Washington on Tuesday and a team-best 17 in the loss to Tulsa.
The 17-year veteran is giving the Storm a huge lift with the absences of Lauren Jackson (hamstring) and Sue Bird (knee). Seattle started 1-3 without those players and dropped its first two road games before winning its past two.
“I think we disappointed ourselves in the start, and we didn’t play to the best of our abilities,” Little said. “We knew we were better than that, and so we’ve just focused as a group so we can play better on both ends of the floor. We’ve been doing that, and we’re going to try to continue doing that.”
The Storm (4-3) have won five straight in Tulsa, and Little scored a career-high 28 points in Seattle’s most recent game there, an 89-66 win Sept. 8.