July 04, 2014

The Tulsa Shock are still comfortably in the playoff race because of a down year in the Western Conference.

Time is running out on their bid to secure home-court advantage in the first round of the postseason, however.

Tulsa aims for a third straight victory Friday night against the visiting Connecticut Sun.

Despite a 10-game skid that included an 80-74 loss at Connecticut on Aug. 12, the Shock (12-14) are 3 1/2 games behind Phoenix for second place in the West. First-place Minnesota and the Mercury are the conference's only teams above .500, while Los Angeles, San Antonio and Seattle are a combined 22-55.

Four of the eight remaining games left for the Shock are against those Nos. 4-6 teams in the West, and they finish the season with a visit from Phoenix.

The Shock knocked off East-leading New York 81-76 at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, then won 74-59 against defending WNBA champion Phoenix on Tuesday to end a five-game home slide.

Tulsa, which had allowed 87.0 points per game in its previous five before the back-to-back wins, was led Tuesday by Riquna Williams' 18 points and six assists.

Connecticut (12-12) is two games behind Chicago for the East's final playoff spot, and its recent play hasn't been encouraging. The Sun have dropped three of four while allowing 84.5 points per game - compared to 75.7 on the season - and six of seven on the road.

They fell apart in the second half of Sunday's 90-77 loss at Atlanta, going 1 for 17 during one stretch and letting the Dream end the third quarter on a 17-5 run. Connecticut had 14 free-throw attempts compared to 36 for Atlanta.

One positive development was Jennifer Lacy's career-high 21 points, though leading scorer Alex Bentley was held to 12 on 4-of-17 shooting. She scored 25 in last week's meeting with Tulsa.

Bentley is averaging 7.5 points in her last four road games compared to 25.0 in the last three at home.

Both teams have winning records against the other conference, with Connecticut 8-1 against the West and Tulsa 5-4 against the East.

Connecticut is aiming for its third win in its last four trips to Tulsa.

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