SAN ANTONIO – Becky Hammon led a third-quarter surge that helped the San Antonio Silver Stars draw closer to a playoff berth by downing the Tulsa Shock 94-74 on Friday night.
The Silver Stars (12-18) ended a four-game home losing streak and moved a game ahead of Los Angeles and Minnesota for third place in the Western Conference with four to play.
Leading 47-46 at halftime, the Silver Stars briefly trailed in the third period before ending the quarter on a 21-9 run. Hammon scored nine points during that spurt and 11 in the quarter, finishing with 15.
"The biggest thing that jumps out to me is we had 26 assists," said Hammon, who contributed eight to that total. "That's really moving and sharing the ball, and as a result we shoot over 50 percent (52.1) from the floor.
"I'd been distributing the ball, and you still want to keep your openings and keep your mind open and just not get so narrow-minded into passing," Hammon said. "I just looked for moments and took 'em when they were there. My teammates did a great job of screening for me, so it sort of shook me free a little bit."
Improved defense as the game wore on sparked San Antonio's transition offense. Tulsa shot 36.7 percent from the field in the second half after hitting 61.3 percent before halftime.
"It starts with defense," said backup guard Edwige Lawson-Wade, who with 13 points was one of six Silver Stars to score in double-figures. "We defended really well, we got some rebounds and we played really fast. We had a lot of fast breaks. The game is at a faster pace, and that's how we want to play."
Chamique Holdsclaw led all scorers with 18 points, including seven in the third quarter.
Scholanda Robinson scored 14 points for Tulsa (5-25), which has lost three in a row and 10 of its past 11.
"We didn't rebound well. That was the story of the game," Robinson said. "I think they had 20 offensive rebounds, and we had 25 (total) for the game. You can't win like that."
San Antonio ended the first period on an 11-0 run, but Tulsa countered by scoring the last eight points of the half. The Shock took a 55-54 lead with 6:46 left in the third quarter before the Silver Stars took control.
Lawson-Wade scored five points in a 9-0 run early in the fourth period that gave San Antonio its first 20-point lead.
The Silver Stars, now 6-8 at home after their first victory at the AT&T Center since July 18, visit Minnesota on Sunday before concluding the regular season with home games against Washington, Indiana and Phoenix.
They have the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over Los Angeles, but are 2-2 against Minnesota.
"We want to make the playoffs, but we still know it's a long way to go," Silver Stars coach Sandy Brondello said. "It's about taking care of home court; we don't necessarily play great on this home court.
"We should beat Tulsa; I think we're a better team. We're going to Minnesota, we know it's 2-2, it's an opportunity to take this tie-break, which is important. We know that they're going to be hungry ... we just have to go in there hungrier."