June 12, 2014

A modest win streak has put the Tulsa Shock on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since relocating from Detroit in 2010.

On a bittersweet note, it would be their only one in Tulsa as they're set to move again after this season.

The well-rested Shock could secure that parting gift for their fans with some help and a win over the also-streaking Los Angeles Sparks on Friday night.

Tulsa (13-14) has been off since earning a third consecutive win last Friday, 84-76 in overtime against visiting Connecticut. The Shock come out of their break with a six-game lead on a Western Conference postseason spot, and they can wrap one up with a victory as well as a Seattle loss to San Antonio on Friday.

That long-awaited postseason appearance would come just before the franchise's relocation to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, which was approved by the WNBA last month. The Shock went 41-129 in their first five seasons in Oklahoma after making the playoffs in each of their final seven in Detroit and winning three league titles.

The Shock appeared to be cruising to a playoff spot after an 82-67 home win over the Sparks on July 11 pushed their record to 10-4. However, they went on to lose 10 in a row, including an 84-57 drubbing in Los Angeles on Aug. 6, but have since turned things around with victories over New York, Phoenix and the Sun.

The Sparks (11-17) also are seeking a fourth straight win, which would tie a season high. They are within 2 1/2 games of third-place Tulsa and have moved 3 1/2 games ahead of Seattle for the West's fourth and final playoff spot.

Ana Dabovic's basket with 6.1 seconds remaining gave them an 81-79 victory at Indiana on Wednesday. She had a career-high 18 points for the second straight game.

Los Angeles, which is closing a four-game road trip, has won five of six away from home.

The Sparks have been hot despite second-leading scorer Nneka Ogwumike missing the past four games due to concussion-like symptoms. Ogwumike, averaging 16.1 points, had a team-best 26 against Tulsa earlier this month and is averaging 24.8 on 63.5 percent shooting in her last five matchups with the Shock.

Riquna Williams led Tulsa with 22 points last Friday and is averaging 20.8 over the last five games, but she's totaled 12 points on 2-of-16 shooting in the past two meetings with Los Angeles.

The Sparks' Kristi Toliver scored a franchise-record 43 in a 98-95 victory over Tulsa on July 3.

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