Detroit wants to reverse trend of losing games on road

Mercury Notebook

By Mark Heller,
Sept. 11, 2007

Beyond the climate and time zone changes associated with playoff traveling comes this nugget:

Detroit hasn’t been itself on the road.

The Shock have lost both road games they have played in this postseason, Game 1 in New York and a blowout in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals against Indiana.

But because of the wacky playoff format in the first two rounds — the team with the better record plays Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3 at home — the Shock came back to win both home games and advance to the next round.

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“In the New York game we got killed and weren’t ready to play. In Indiana we got frustrated by the officiating,” Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. “But traditionally, when it comes to when we need to play well on the road, we come together as a ball club and put on a good show.”

This time, however, the Mercury earned a split in Detroit, which means it’s a bestof-three series with Phoenix having two games. Detroit lost its final two regular season road games, but home court had been secured, so Laimbeer sat his starters most of those games. “Adversity hasn’t started yet,” Laimbeer said.


Coach Paul Westhead’s expensive new Italian shoes haven’t been bought yet, but he’s holding out for something better. Diana Taurasi promised her coach a new pair after he spent four days in Detroit with two different black dress shoes. Both coach and player said they will wait until after the series, but since Taurasi is Italian, a new pair of gator shoes or simple penny loafers may not be good enough. “Maybe when I said they’re Italian and expensive, they’ll fly us over to Italy,” Westhead said.


Never one to have long practices, Westhead called it quits early Monday. “We’re a bit stiff and sore, but we’ll be fine,” forward Penny Taylor said. Long flights and physical play had the team gimpy on Monday, with Taylor requiring a little extra attention. Not to mention only Olympia Scott and Jen Derevjanik from this group have played in September before. “This time of year, I’ll back down even more,” Westhead said of his regimen. For the Shock, All-Star forward Cheryl Ford (knee) will continue to sit out practices and remains a game-time decision.

COPYRIGHT 2007, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.