Mercury 96

(17-12, 8-7 away)

Shock 74

(3-26, 2-13 home)

    8:00 PM ET, August 30, 2011

    BOK Center, Tulsa, OK

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHX 22 29 20 2596
    TUL 15 15 21 2374

    Top Performers

    Phoenix: D. Bonner 25 Pts, 9 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Tulsa: E. Cambage 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Mercury-Shock Preview


    While Sheryl Swoopes will likely go down as one of the greatest WNBA players of all time, no one thought much of her return to the league following a two-year hiatus.

    The four-time champion and three-time MVP, however, clearly still has something left in the tank.

    Seeking a third straight win for the first time since relocating, the Shock try and avoid a seventh consecutive defeat to the visiting Phoenix Mercury on Tuesday night.

    After making the winning jumper with 2.9 seconds remaining at Los Angeles to snap Tulsa's WNBA-record 20-game losing streak Friday, Swoopes stepped up again, recording a season-high 22 points and seven rebounds during Sunday's 83-72 win over Connecticut.

    "Everyone who played contributed to this win, everyone," Swoopes said. "To get a home win for our crowd was great. They have supported us throughout the losing streak."

    The Shock (3-25) haven't won three straight since Sept. 1-6, 2009, when they played in Detroit. They have limited teams to an average of 73.5 points during their back-to-back victories -- 8.1 less than their season mark.

    "The first one was sweet and all but I think this one is even better because it came in front of our fans," interim coach Teresa Edwards said. "We're starting to turn the corner. Our confidence is up and we're not going to base our team on what anybody else (opponent) is thinking. We'll do our best."

    With its brutal losing stretch in the past, Tulsa now tries to end its skid in this series. The Shock have dropped six straight to the Mercury (16-12) by 22.3 points per game -- including a 102-63 defeat July 10 during which Swoopes was held scoreless in 17 minutes.

    Phoenix avoided matching a season-worst third straight loss by defeating Washington 86-79 on the road Sunday. Forward Candice Dupree scored a season-high 27 points and Diana Taurasi added 21.

    The Mercury led by as many as 22 before letting up a bit over the final 10 minutes.

    "We talked before the game about getting off to a quick start, making sure we were fluid on both ends of the court. It worked," Dupree said. "We kind of let slip a little bit in the fourth quarter, but a win is a win. We definitely needed it."

    Taurasi, who leads the league with 21.2 points per game, has recorded eight straight 20-point efforts -- a season high.

    Phoenix, which concludes its current four-game trek Thursday at San Antonio, is third in the Western Conference, three games ahead of the fourth-place Silver Stars. Phoenix, however, can't afford to overlook Tulsa before that matchup, especially given the Shock's new-found confidence.

    "Even though we can't make the playoffs, we feel like we can impact other teams getting to the playoffs," Tulsa forward Tiffany Jackson said. "Once you get that first one, it's mental, you think you can win them all."

    Phoenix ranks first in the WNBA with an average of 89.9 points but is also surrendering a league-high 86.8 per game.

    The Mercury can clinch a postseason berth with a victory and a Los Angeles loss to Seattle.