Expect better play in Game 5, Smith says

WNBA Finals Notebook

By Mark Heller
eastvalleytribune.com,
Sept. 16, 2007

AUBURN HILLS, MICH. - Penny Taylor called her Thursday night rim-clanging a “barry.” Told of her Aussie teammate’s slang definition for a clunker, Mercury forward Tangela Smith called her night a “double barry.”

Her double barry was a 1-for-10 shooting night in Game 4 of the WNBA Finals.

“But we won,” Smith said. “We know (Taylor’s) not going to do that again. Me either.” She had the same thing happen to her in a first-round game against Seattle, but in both cases, Phoenix managed to win.

In the final game of the season, on the road, against defending champion Detroit, she’s not counting on her team being so fortunate again.

“I was rushing,” she said. “It felt like I was throwing them up there instead of taking my time. I had guards on me in the post a couple of times and wasn’t aggressive enough.”

Besides the prospect of winning a championship for the first time in her 10-year WNBA career, Smith has more the 20 friends and family flying in as witnesses.

“It’s not going to happen again.”

NOLAN, FORD IN DOUBT

Shock All-Star Deanna Nolan was added to the injury report as “doubtful” with a hyperextended knee.

Nolan was wearing a brace at Saturday’s practice, but was optimistic she’d play.

She’s averaging 18 points, six rebounds and four assists in the playoffs.

Shock coach Bill Laimbeer “remains very pessimistic” that forward Cheryl Ford will play today.


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Ford injured her knee when she crashed to the floor with 40 seconds remaining in Game 4, the same play in which Cappie Pondexter drove and put back her own miss to give the Mercury a one-point lead.

It appeared as though Pondexter got knocked into Ford on her way to the basket, but Ford corrected herself after watching the tape.

“(Deanna Nolan) blocked the shot and her momentum knocked her into the side of calf and my knee buckled,” Ford said. “I thought it was Cappie, but it was (Nolan).”

She’s played through an injured knee throughout the second half of the season, and the Shock have missed her presence inside throughout this series. Ford was the only player in the league to average a double-double but missed more than half of the season.

BONUS SHOTS

Detroit could win its third title in five years with a win today. The Shock would also be the third team in league history to win consecutive titles, joining Houston (1997-2000) and Los Angeles (2001-2002).

Until Phoenix won on Thursday, Detroit was the only other team in Finals history to extend a series to Game 5, which it did against Sacramento last season. They won the title.

Diana Taurasi swished a baseballstyle throw from nearly three-quarter court at Saturday’s practice.

COPYRIGHT 2007, EAST VALLEY TRIBUNE. Used with permission.