June 01, 2014

A long homestand has helped keep the Seattle Storm in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Storm look to cap the six-game KeyArena stretch with a season-high third straight win Thursday night against the surging Tulsa Shock.

Seattle (9-20) is 3-2 on the homestand and coming off Sunday's confidence-building 69-59 victory over East contender Washington. The Storm trailed by 10 midway through the third quarter before holding the Mystics scoreless for more than nine minutes during a 19-0 run.

"We got more aggressive," guard Jewell Loyd told the Storm's official website. "We made plays for each other and our defense was on point. We knew we had to step it up a notch, get in a good rhythm, defensive rhythm and that's what we did."

Loyd scored 18 points and set a club record by going 14 of 14 from the foul line.

The Storm trail Los Angeles by 2 1/2 games for the West's final postseason spot with five remaining and face a difficult stretch. After Thursday's visit from the playoff-bound Shock, Seattle travels to Chicago before a home-and-home series with West-leading Minnesota.

Seattle does have recent history on its side Thursday, as the home team has won the series' last eight meetings and the Shock are 2-10 at KeyArena since moving to Tulsa in 2010. The Storm avenged two previous losses to the Shock with a 74-69 home victory June 30, when Tulsa lost star guard Skylar Diggins to a season-ending ACL tear.

Diggins' injury triggered a 2-13 stretch that included a 10-game losing streak July 15-Aug. 4. The Shock (15-14) have since bounced back to win five straight and secured their first playoff berth since 2009 with Sunday's 76-70 victory over Indiana.

"It means a lot," coach Fred Williams said. "For the city of Tulsa, I told them we were going to do big things here and I thought this was one of the biggest days for our franchise and our organization here and for our fans. They deserve this."

Odyssey Sims scored a season-high 30 points and Karima Christmas added 18 to help Tulsa overcome a shin injury to Riquna Williams in the second quarter. Williams, who had 23 points June 30 and is averaging 15.6 this season, is uncertain for Thursday.

The Storm will play for a third straight game without center Ramu Tokashiki, currently competing for Japan in the FIBA Asia Championship. The rookie totaled 33 points on 16-of-25 shooting in the last two matchups with Tulsa.

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