Sparks-Shock Preview


While the Los Angeles Sparks have seemed to be unbeatable at home, they haven't been able to carry that success to the road.

The Sparks will try to finally break through on an opponent's court Thursday night when they take on the WNBA-worst Tulsa Shock.

Los Angeles (8-4) continued its home dominance with Saturday's 93-66 victory over San Antonio that extended the franchise's regular-season home winning streak to 18.

Nneka Ogwumike had season highs with 24 points and 16 rebounds, while Candace Parker added 18 and nine as the Sparks won their third in a row.

Los Angeles has won its eight home games by an average of 22.4 points but has been outscored by 14.3 in dropping its four road contests. The Sparks haven't been nearly as effective offensively on the road, scoring 76.3 per game compared to 89.3 at home.

They're hoping to end that trend against a Tulsa team that is among the league leaders with an average of 83.7 points allowed.

"That's the one thing we discussed after the game is that we need to be road warriors," said Ogwumike, who has totaled 39 points in her last two games. "So we want to come out and practice hard. Coach (Carol Ross) said we're going to work on the fundamentals when we come back from our day off and bring it to the road because Tulsa's going to be hard to win at their place."

Los Angeles had a difficult time putting the Shock (3-11) away June 8 before finally outscoring them 10-3 in overtime for a 76-69 home victory.

Kristi Toliver led the way for the Sparks with 21 points, Lindsey Harding had 20 and Parker added 17 and 13 rebounds.

Glory Johnson, who leads Tulsa with 16.5 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, finished with a team-best 17 points and eight boards.

Johnson, though, will attempt to end her recent slump as she's averaging 9.7 points on 9-of-34 shooting in her last three games.

The Shock return home after capping an 0-4 road trip with an 88-69 loss to Connecticut on July 2.

Rookie guard Skylar Diggins struggled again with four points on 1-of-8 shooting. Diggins, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, has totaled eight points on 3-of-19 shooting in her last three contests.

Although the Shock have averaged 66.3 points in their last three road games, they've scored 92.7 per game in their last three at home.

They'll try to avoid their longest losing streak of the season by winning their third straight on their own floor.

Los Angeles and Tulsa split four meetings last season with the home team earning the victory in each. Toliver averaged 20.0 points for the Sparks in the season series.

Guard Riquna Williams, who paced the Shock with 23 points against the Sun, scored 16.8 per game versus Los Angeles last season.