Sparks' Toliver Finds Sweet RedemptionMay 30, 2012
LOS ANGELES, Calif. – When asked if she was aware that teammate Kristi Toliver had set a new WNBA record for turnovers in one game with 14, forward Candace Parker mugged a wide-eyed expression and turned to the player with the locker next to hers. Yes, Marissa Coleman knew.
Although Toliver also sits next to her on the other side, Parker couldn’t address the dubious benchmark with the new record holder herself due to the half-dozen or so reporters surrounding the former Maryland Terrapin’s locker.
Such was the scene in the Sparks’ locker room after Toliver’s last second three-pointer gave L.A. a shocking 76-75 win over an oh-so-game 0-and-3 Tulsa Shock team that had, up until that very instant, pretty much sucked all the air out of the Staples Center.
The cruel irony is that the Shock's frenetic and relentless defensive effort exploited no one more than the player who would ultimately set the dagger in their hearts.
“I’m so proud of her,” Parker said speaking of Toliver’s resiliency. “She’s come a long way in her maturity as a player. Before, she would have put her head down and wouldn’t have been able to hit that shot.”
“I knew it was good when it left her hand,” said Parker.
Sorry, Tulsa. You fought your hearts out. You really didn’t deserve to come away from this kind of a road effort 0-and-4.
Unfortunately for the winless visitors, Toliver may have set another record for sheer distance covered in going from goat to hero in one second flat.
Her 14th and last turnover, with one minute left and the Sparks down by two, looked to be the final straw in a disastrous showing and one that would surely seal her team’s upset at the hands of the Shock.
“It was a little bit of indecisiveness,” Toliver said describing her performance up until she hit the game winner. “I wasn’t being aggressive. I should have been shooting it when I was passing it and passing it when I was shooting it.”
Toliver credited the Shock for their tough defensive effort. “Tulsa makes you play like that,” She said.
Toliver also was appreciative of her teammates who stuck with her throughout the game. “They were staying with me, staying positive,” Toliver said. “They wanted me to take the last shot.”
Did she really have the guts to go for the win when overtime seemed to beckon and everything had gone so bad for her all game? “I checked to make sure that my foot was behind the line,” she said. “I knew I was going to knock it down.”
Sparks coach Carol Ross never lost faith in her hot-shooting do-it-all guard. “Just for her to be able to keep her head up and have the confidence to take the shot,” Ross said. “It says a lot about her character, because she had a rough night otherwise.”
The Sparks move to 4-and-1 and yet another meeting with their winless rival the Seattle Storm this Sunday evening at the Staples Center. Tip-off is set for 5:30 PM.
2 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.
Frenetic and relentless defense it was by Tulsa! But what a last shot to win it - that has to go down in the Sparks pantheon of great moments.