Parker powers Sparks past Shock 94-78By KEVIN HENRY, Associated Press Friday, Jul 12, 2013
TULSA, Okla. (AP)—Candace Parker scored a season-high 30 points and Kristi Toliver added 25 as the Los Angeles Sparks won their fourth consecutive game with a 94-78 romp over the Tulsa Shock on Thursday night.
The win was the first on the road this season for Los Angeles (9-4), which had dropped its first four games away from Staples Center. It was also the Sparks’ third win by 16 or more points in their last four outings.
“It’s important to play well early when you want to win on the road,” Parker said. “We got in front early and put our foot on the gas. We rebounded much better tonight and knocked down a lot of shots.”
Tulsa (3-12) dropped its fifth straight game and saw its modest two-game homecourt winning streak snapped. Rookie Skylar Diggins paced the Shock with 19 points, including 11 in the first half.
The Sparks used a 9-2 first-quarter run to jump to a 22-10 advantage at the end of the period and would not relinquish the lead. Toliver accounted for 12 of Los Angeles’ first 18 points to pace the Sparks’ offense early.
Tulsa’s Tiffany Jackson-Jones made her first appearance since 2011. She missed last season while pregnant with her first child. After participating in this preseason, Jackson-Jones missed the first 14 games with a stress fracture in her right tibia. She finished with nine points.
Los Angeles would lead by as many as 21 points in the first half, with Ebony Hoffman’s jumper forcing a Tulsa timeout with 4:43 to play before intermission and the Sparks holding a 38-17 edge.
“When you go on the road, you have to feel good early and we hadn’t had much confidence early in our previous road games,” Los Angeles coach Carol Ross said. “Tonight, we came out and got some early steals and used that to generate some offense.”
Parker would score her final basket of the night on a layup midway through the fourth quarter to increase Los Angeles’ lead to 91-69. She finished 14 of 20 from the floor, matching a WNBA season high for field goals made in a game.
“That’s a really good team, almost like an All-Star team out there,” Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said of the Sparks. “Parker and Toliver are probably two of the top players in our league. I felt like we got off to such a tough start and into a deep hole. We’re just a team that can’t have any lapses against these high-level teams.”