Detroit 70, Connecticut 59
Ford Sets WNBA Record as Shock Top Sun in Game 1
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 24 (Ticker) -- The Detroit Shock were too big, too strong and too good for the Connecticut Sun.
Deanna Nolan scored 21 points and Cheryl Ford added 11 and a WNBA playoff-record 23 rebounds as the Shock beat the Sun, 70-59, to take Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals.
"That's what we discussed the last three days. We had to get more second shots," Ford said. "I feel like some of those just fell into my hands. I was just in the right place at the right time. I couldn't believe it when they said I had 16 at the half."
Detroit took hold of the game early in the fourth quarter, when it went on a 20-2 run run to open a 63-51 lead. Katie Smith hit two 3-pointers and Nolan added five points in the decisive burst. The Sun did not get closer than 11 thereafter.
Nolan had seven assists and Smith scored 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting and added five assists for the Shock, who are 4-0 against the Sun this season.
Lindsay Whalen and Erin Phillips each scored 13 for Connecticut, which shot 30.1 percent (22-of-73) from the field and scored just seven points in the second quarter and 10 in the fourth.
"Our defense was outstanding. We had good focus and rotation. We challenged shots. We got through their pick and rolls," Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer said. "That won the game for us - that and Cheryl Ford. That was a Herculean effort on her part to get all of those rebounds."
The defending Eastern Conference champions, the Sun were playing without the services of All-Star guard Katie Douglas, who learned on Monday that she had a non-displaced hairline fracture of the foot. She is doubtful for the remainder of the playoffs.
"She didn't even come out to try to play in this game," Sun coach Mike Thibault said. "It's not an injury that she can make worse by playing, but she's not ready to play. If we get lucky and she can play in one of the weekend games, that's great."
A 15-0 run with two minutes remaining in the first quarter gave Connecticut an early 23-9 lead, but Ford sparked a 12-2 run with seven points as Detroit closed the quarter down 25-21.
Detroit dominated the second stanza, holding Connecticut to just three field goals on 17 attempts. The Shock collected 16 rebounds, 11 by Ford, to take a 36-32 halftime lead. Ford, Nolan, and Smith, each had nine points at the half.
Lindsay Whalen's five points and two assists in the third, sparked Connecticut to a six-point lead with just over a minute remaining, but a Nolan jumper and Smith's three pointer got the Shock to within 49-48 at the end of three.