Shock-Mercury Preview

The Associated Press

While they're on track for their most successful season since relocating to Tulsa, the Shock have yet to earn their first road victory.

If Brittney Griner can duplicate her latest effort, Tulsa will likely remain winless away from home after Friday night's game against the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Mercury.

Tulsa (4-6) hasn't won more than 11 games since leaving Detroit before the 2010 season but helped its chances of a better finish by sweeping a four-game homestand that ended Sunday. The Shock, though, couldn't keep that run going Thursday as they fell 87-77 to Los Angeles in the opener to a four-game trip.

Tulsa remained the WNBA's lone winless road team at 0-5. Glory Johnson registered a season-high 22 points and 10 rebounds in the loss, and Skylar Diggins had 16 points after scoring 20 or more in four consecutive games.

"Tonight we got beat by a team that really wanted to get a victory, and we wanted to keep the streak," coach Fred Williams said.

The Shock might have a difficult time ending their road drought against the Mercury (8-3), who are 4-1 at home this season. Phoenix beat Minnesota 92-79 on Wednesday in its latest game at the U.S. Airways Center and moved percentage points ahead of the Lynx in the West by sweeping a home-and-home set.

Griner led the way with a career-high 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting and tied another personal mark with 18 rebounds. Diana Taurasi had 22 points, one shy of matching a season high, and 10 rebounds.

"If (Griner) plays like that every single game, and I don't expect her to because it's just impossible during the WNBA season, she's unstoppable," coach Sandy Brondello said. "She's hard to guard because she's such a skilled post player."

Griner had 14 points on 2-of-8 shooting and five rebounds in a 100-78 home rout of the Shock on May 30. She was held to a season-low nine points on 3 of 8 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds in a 94-78 loss in Tulsa on June 6.

She's averaging 19.0 points on 59.7 percent shooting (40 for 67) and 11.2 rebounds since that game. Griner will try to add to those numbers while helping the Mercury bolster their conference lead.

Minnesota hosts Washington on Friday night.

Diggins, the player taken two spots behind Griner in the 2013 draft, is fifth in the league with an 18.9-point average and just ahead of Taurasi at 18.6. The Tulsa guard has scored 20 points in each of the two matchups this season and will try to help the Shock avoid a fourth consecutive loss in Phoenix.

Riquna Williams had a season-high 27 points in the loss at U.S. Airways in May, and rookie Odyssey Sims had a career-best 21 in the home win earlier this month.

The teams will complete their season series June 29 in Tulsa.

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