Detroit 98, Indiana 83
Shock Overcome Whitmore, Eliminate Fever
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 19 (Ticker) -- Tamika Whitmore was unable to stop the Detroit Shock from moving on.
The Shock overcame a WNBA playoff-record 41 points by Whitmore en route to a 98-83 victory over the Indiana Fever that completed a sweep of their best-of-three Eastern Conference semifinal series.
"We really wanted to put this game away, we attacked the rim, we attacked at all times in the fourth quarter and it showed on the boxscore," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We're very excited to go to the next round, we've done our part. Everybody at the start of the year was looking at a Detroit-Connecticut matchup in the Eastern Conference Finals. We're there, we'll see what happens in the other series."
Whitmore did her best to try to force a decisive game in the series as she made 15-of-22 shots and also grabbed 10 rebounds before fouling out in the best playoff performance in league history. Lisa Leslie of the Los Angeles Sparks held the previous mark for points in a postseason game with 35 on Aug. 27, 2001.
"If I ever have children and grandchildren, maybe (I'll care)," Whitmore said. "I've got a lot more years left to play. Like I said, I came to Indiana to win an WNBA Championship."
However, the combination of Pierson and Ford proved too much to handle in the fourth quarter, when the Shock took control of the game.
Pierson scored six points in an 8-2 run to start the fourth that gave the Shock a 71-66 advantage. Ford contributed eight points in a 9-0 surge, which pushed the advantage to double digits with under five minutes remaining.
Swin Cash scored 17 points and Deanna Nolan added 14 for Detroit, which will meet either top-seeded Connecticut or fourth-seeded Washington in the conference finals.
The Fever's hopes of extending the series also took a hit in the third quarter, when All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings had to be helped to the locker room after striking her head against the floor. She returned midway through the fourth quarter.