TULSA, Okla. – Liz Cambage scored a career-high 28 points and Candice Wiggins matched a season-high with 18 points as the Tulsa Shock beat the Los Angeles Sparks 96-89 Friday night for their fourth win in five games.
Glory Johnson added 17 points for Tulsa (7-14), including 10 in the first quarter. Cambage shot 9 for 11 from the field and 10 for 11 on free throws.
"I didn't care about the points tonight. I'm just happy that we won," Cambage said. "Teams think the way to stop me is to foul me but I'm working hard on my free throws."
Kristi Toliver scored 23 points and Nneka Ogwumike had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Los Angeles (12-7). The Sparks, starting a season-high five-game road trip, were without All-Star game MVP Candace Parker due to an injured right wrist. Her status for Los Angeles' next game, Sunday at Washington, was uncertain.
"We battled. It's hard to find a way to replace someone like Candace," Los Angeles head coach Carol Ross said. "We didn't have an answer for Cambage inside. She was too powerful, too big, and too good tonight."
Cambage and Wiggins combined for 24 points in the fourth quarter as Tulsa held off a late rally by the Sparks. Los Angeles pulled to 80-77 on Marissa Coleman's 3-pointer with 3:35 to play.
Wiggins answered with a 3-pointer and a short jumper to extend Tulsa's lead back to 85-77, and the Sparks got no closer than four again.
"I was really proud of the way we withstood their run," Tulsa coach Gary Kloppenburg said. "It's good for us to be able to beat a good team like that. We're going to have to beat some of the elite teams like Los Angeles in order to get to the playoffs."
Tulsa got off to a fast start, tying a season-high for points in the first quarter as the Shock took a 25-16 lead at the end of the period. Despite picking up her second foul midway through the period, Johnson paced the way for the Shock, scoring 10 points as the Shock opened 9 for 16 from the field.
"I thought the difference was the start of the game," Ross said. "They came out of the gate firing and we didn't have an answer."
Los Angeles used a 9-0 run midway through the second quarter to pull to 30-29 as Tulsa was held without a field goal for nearly 4 minutes. The Shock, however, closed the first half on a 12-2 run, including two inside baskets from Cambage, to take a 42-31 edge at the break.