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>>caption: NOLAN (#14) TIED HER
SEASON-HIGH WITH A 34-P EFFORT<<
@ PALACE OF AUBURN HILLS:
The defending WNBA Champion
Detroit Shock gave the announced
crowd of 8,178 a treat in the final
regular season home game of the
year. The Shock worked overtime
to beat the New York Liberty 94-87
and clinch an Eastern Conference
The Shock blitzed the visitors
10-3 in the extra period to win for
the eighth time in their last ten games
and go to 17-16 for the season.
Deanna Nolan topped the Shock for the fourth time in the last five outings with
a game-high 34-P (to tie her season-high).
Detroit had comfortable 44-34 halftime and 65-51 start of the 4th-Qtr margins
before the last place Liberty forced the OT with a 33-19 surge in the final regulation
quarter. Sidney Spencer's 3-pointer with 4:42 left in the 4th briefly put New York on
top 71-69. Detroit's Kara Braxton scored five straight points and Shavonte Zellous
sank a triple to end an 8-0 run and boost the Shock back in front 77-71. However, the
Liberty then staged a 13-7 closing surge capped by an Essence Carson 3-ball to tie
the score 84-all with 6-sec left in regulation.
Nolan's back-to-back 3-pointers started overtime and the Shock then cruised
past an exhausted New York squad.
Braxton, Zellous and Cheryl Ford had 11-P each for Detroit and Taj McWilliams
added 10-P. Braxton and McWilliams had a co-game-high of 8-RB apiece.
Carson scored a team and her career-high of 28-P. Rookie Kia Vaughn had 15-P
and Cathrine Kraayeveld 12-P for the Liberty.
New York (12-21) lost its fourth in a row.
SHOCK H-COACH RICK MAHORN: "That fourth quarter was very disheartening.
At some point, there’s nothing a coach can do—the players have to decide if they
want it bad enough. Luckily, we pulled it out, and we’ll take it...We’ve got a lot
of things to fix if we want to do anything in the playoffs."
SHOCK GD DEANNA NOLAN: "That’s exactly how we are—it’s never simple. This
was one of those games where a team has nothing to lose and just plays great
down the stretch...We knew what we were doing wrong tonight, and we were able
to fix it."
SHOCK C/F KARA BRAXTON: "We know they’re a team like that and they can
always come back at any time, so we always got to be ready and mentally prepared
for whatever they bring us. We stuck it out. We just had to go another quarter to
LIBERTY GD ESSENCE CARSON: "In the fourth, we were really focused on letting
them have one shot and not giving up any defensive rebounds. I really believe that
fatigue set in at the end. We didn’t hit a couple shots and made a couple mistakes
and they really capitalized.”
The third place Shock moved within a half game of second place Atlanta. Detroit
visits fourth place Chicago in the regular season finale Saturday night. Even if the
Sky defeat Detroit and Connecticut and Washington both win their last two games
to put four clubs at 17-17, the Shock and the Sky would stay as third and fourth
seeds the result of tiebreakers. Although the Sun and Mystics are now on the outside
of the playoff chase, both could help Detroit finish second because Connecticut and
Washington each play Atlanta.
Shock FWD Katie Smith missed her sixth consecutive contest with back pain.
NYL CEN Janel McCarville sat out with a sprained left ankle.
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