Shock Notch Second Straight Win over Fever

Shock 74, Fever 65 (F)
A 74-65 victory over Indiana on Saturday night was the Shock's second win against the Fever in the past 10 days.

Detroit 74, Indiana 65

INDIANAPOLIS, May 31 (AP) -- This win could mean even more for the Detroit Shock in the fall.

A 74-65 victory over Indiana on Saturday night was the Shock's second win against the Fever in the past 10 days, and with just one more meeting between the two Eastern Conference rivals the rest of the regular season, it could determine home-court advantage in the playoffs if a tiebreaker is necessary.

"To steal any game on the road is big, especially to come in here against somebody we could face at the end of the year,'' said Katie Smith, who led Detroit with 19 points.

The Shock had the home-court advantage last year and beat Indiana 2-1 in the conference finals.

"Everybody is vying for spots, and you've got to win whatever games you can,'' Smith said. "It gives us a tiebreaker right now, and that's something we wanted to get just in case it comes down to that at the end of the year.''

Detroit took control with a 13-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters. Elaine Powell added a season-high 14 points for the Shock (5-1), who took a half-game lead over Connecticut for first place in the East.

"This was a test of wills between them and us,'' Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We played awful in the first half, but we were still in the game, so we knew we had a good chance to win.''

The Fever (3-2) led by as many as 10 points in the second quarter but went cold as the Shock started their comeback. A 3-pointer by Smith put Detroit up 42-40 midway through the third, then Indiana took its final lead on a 3 by Ebony Hoffman and a free throw by Tan White.

The Fever missed their next six shots and had five straight turnovers during Detroit's decisive streak.

"They came out with an enormous amount of energy,'' Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "They came out with an enormous amount of focus. I thought our kids didn't match that, didn't match that physicalness.''

A layup by Smith and free throw by Plenette Pierson put Detroit up 53-44 at the end of the third period, and a basket by Cheryl Ford completed the run for a 55-44 lead early in the final quarter.

Indiana closed to 55-49 on the first basket by Katie Douglas, but Smith followed that with another 3-pointer. The Fever again cut the lead to 69-65 in the final minute before Detroit scored the last five points on free throws.

"We lost our composure a couple of times,'' Dunn said. "That third quarter really put us in a hole.''

White led Indiana with 14 points. Hoffman finished with 12 points, including two 3-pointers in one game for the first time in her career.

Douglas, acquired from Connecticut in the offseason, set a Fever record with at least 20 points in each of her first four games and came in as the league's second-leading scorer. But she finished with nine points and didn't even attempt a shot until late in the second quarter after six points by Hoffman and miserable early shooting by the Shock helped Indiana take a 25-15 lead.

A basket by Smith started an 8-0 Detroit run, and the Shock pulled within 25-23. Hoffman came back with a 3-pointer, though, and Indiana built the lead back to seven before a 41-foot bank shot at the buzzer by Powell brought the Shock within 32-28 at halftime.

Calendar Strip here