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Shocking: Tulsa leads Western Conference in WNBA

Tulsa Shock guard Skylar Diggins (4) jumps to the basket against Minnesota Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson (32) during the first half of a WNBA basketball game, Sunday, June 21, 2015, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Stacy Bengs)

NEW YORK (AP) — Don’t look now, but the Tulsa Shock are sitting atop the Western Conference.

After a season-opening defeat in Minnesota, Tulsa hasn’t lost since. Riding the stellar play of Skylar Diggins, the Shock are now in first place. Tulsa has won six straight, the longest winning streak since the Shock moved to Oklahoma in 2010. The latest win came over the Lynx in Minnesota on Sunday.

“We’re a great team,” said Riquna Williams, who scored 17 in the victory over the Lynx. “We have vets that push us and have that experience, so all we can do is jump on the boat with them.”

The Shock (6-1) have a great mix of veterans and young stars and look poised to make the playoffs for the first time since they were in Detroit.

Tulsa isn’t the only team with a six-game winning streak. Connecticut swept its three-game road trip out west to improve to 6-1 also. The Sun, who lead the Eastern Conference, needed double overtime to beat Phoenix on Friday night before topping Los Angeles on Sunday. They have had a balanced offense all season.

“This is the kind of team that I’d like to see — so many people in double figures,” coach Anne Donovan said. “It’s a really balanced team with an outside and inside game. We tried to sub more than I normally sub, to make sure we get some fresher legs in the fourth quarter, so that was the only way we could counter.”

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Here are other things to keep an eye on around the league:

OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES: Scoring is down in the WNBA this season to its lowest point in a decade. Teams are averaging just under 74 points a game — the lowest since 2005, according to STATS. In 2005, teams averaged just 67.3 points a game. Los Angeles is bringing up the rear, scoring a woeful 55.7 points, 22 points less than last season. It’s hard to blame the Sparks who are missing Candace Parker (rest), Nneka Ogwumike (ankle), Kristi Toliver (playing abroad). The Chicago Sky are leading the way averaging 86.5 points.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tamika Catchings had a week to forget offensively. She was 3 for 31 from the field, including missing all 10 of her shots against New York on Friday night. It was only the second time in her pro career that Catchings was scoreless in a game. She also didn’t score a point on July 23, 2009.

“I know the other time it bothered me and I would have probably thrown some things, but we got the win and are playing well offensively,” Catchings said after that victory.

Indiana won back-to-back road games by double digits for only the second time in franchise history. The other time was in 2012.

WOEFUL STARTS: The San Antonio Stars and Los Angeles Sparks are both off to the worst starts in franchise history. The Stars (0-6) surpassed the 2005 team that lost its first five games. The Sparks (0-4), who had only eight healthy players in Sunday’s loss to Connecticut, now begin a three-game road trip. The two teams do meet on July 2 and then again on July 8.

GAME OF THE WEEK: Brittney Griner will make her season debut after serving a seven-game suspension for a domestic violence arrest on Saturday when the Mercury visit the Minnesota Lynx. Phoenix beat Minnesota earlier in the season without the 6-foot-8 star.

ALL-STAR VOTING: The WNBA opened its All-Star balloting this week and for the first time fans can vote for any current WNBA player. Votes can be cast on multiple digital platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. The game will take place in Connecticut on July 25.

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