Record Second Half Carries Shock to Victory

Detroit 111, Phoenix 82

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 8 (AP) -- The Detroit Shock tried to make things simple and it worked in spectacular fashion.

Katie Smith scored 20 points, Deanna Nolan added 18, and the Shock used a league-record 72-point second half to rout the Phoenix Mercury 111-82 on Sunday night.

"We got back to basics,'' said Smith, who scored 12 of her 20 points in a 21-2 third-quarter run. "We rebounded and we attacked the basket.''

The Shock seemed energized by Bill Laimbeer's benching of All-Star center Kara Braxton for lethargic play. Braxton only played the last 3:42, entering long after the game was decided.

"Kara's role right now is ... we'll have to see,'' Laimbeer said. "It's probably going to change from day to day.''

Even without the Eastern Conference's starting center, the Shock took over a close game with a dominant third quarter. Detroit scored a league-record 40 points in the period, turning a two-point halftime deficit into a 79-60 lead.

"We were sharp in the first half, but sharp only matters if you do it for 40 minutes,'' Phoenix coach Paul Westhead said. "They shot the ball well and they rebounded well, and we struggled to score. That's not a good combination.''

The Shock led by as many as 34 down the stretch as they broke their own record for points in a half by six.

"That's just something that happened,'' Laimbeer said. "We got them on their heels and we started hitting shots.''

Eight Detroit players scored at least seven points, with six in double figures. Three players had at least 10 rebounds, as the Shock outrebounded Phoenix 55-26.

Tangela Smith led Phoenix with 16 points, but Diana Taurasi and Cappie Pondexter combined for only 15 on 7-for-27 shooting.

"We're a fast-break team and they slowed the game down a little,'' Tangela Smith said. "That's our style and they took that away from us. That was smart.''

The Shock turned the ball over eight times in the first quarter, including a league-record-tying five steals by Taurasi.

Detroit didn't get much better in the second period, committing six more turnovers, but their physical style kept them in the game. The Shock outrebounded Phoenix 25-15 in the half.

"When you post up, elbow them in the face and make them make a call,'' Laimbeer shouted to his players during the second quarter.

Phoenix led 41-39 at the intermission, despite missing 15 of their 18 3-pointers. Nolan (11) and Pondexter (10) were the only players to reach double figures by the intermission.