The Detroit Shock, who finished with a WNBA-best 25-9 record, became only the second team in professional sports history to post the league's top record one year after posting the league's worst (The Shock were 9-23 in 2002). Back in 1890, the Louisville Colonels baseball team of the American Association was 88-44 after going 27-111 in 1889. Meanwhile, the Cleveland Rockers had a big turnaround of their own in 2003, going 17-17 after finishing last season at 10-22, only one game above Detroit. Helen Darling, who sat out all of 2002 giving birth to triplets, played a key role for the Rockers this year, leading the team in assists.

2003 Regular Season: Detroit Shock 4 - Cleveland Rockers 0
Some fast facts about the Shock-Rockers first-round matchup:

This is the second trip to the playoffs for Detroit, which lost in the first round to Charlotte in 1999, while the Rockers are entering their fourth postseason.
The Shock swept the Rockers 4-0 in the season series behind 18.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg and 3.7 apg from All-Star forward Swin Cash.
Cleveland got much of its production against the Shock from the post, as 6-3 Chasity Melvin averaged 13.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg.
The series features an exciting rookie matchup between Cleveland's LaToya Thomas, who has really developed over course of the year, and Detroit All-Star Cheryl Ford, who finished second in rebounding and joined Chamique Holdsclaw and Lisa Leslie as the only players to average a double-double.


July 19, 2003: Shock 58, Rockers 57 | Box score

Shock leaders: Swin Cash (14 pts., 7 reb.), Cheryl Ford (11 pts., 15 reb.)
Rockers leaders: Chasity Melvin (12 pts., 11 reb.), Penny Taylor (12 pts., 5 reb.)

July 22, 2003: Shock 74, Rockers 71 | Box score
Shock leaders: Swin Cash (14 pts., 9 reb., 6 ast.), Cheryl Ford (14 pts., 14 reb., 5 ast.)
Rockers leaders: LaToya Thomas (17 pts., 6 reb.), Chasity Melvin (15 pts., 9 reb.)

July 29, 2003: Shock 77, Rockers 65 | Box score
Shock leaders: Swin Cash (24 pts., 5 reb.), Kedra Holland-Corn (17 pts., 4 ast.)
Rockers leaders: Penny Taylor (17 pts., 4 reb.), Chasity Melvin (13 pts., 8 reb.)

Aug. 21, 2003: Shock 71, Rockers 56 | Box score
Shock leaders: Swin Cash (20 pts., 5 reb., 4 ast.), Cheryl Ford (11 pts., 11 reb.)
Rockers leaders: Chasity Melvin (14 pts., 6 reb.), LaToya Thomas (10 pts., 6 reb.)

(Photo credits: Swin Cash by Allen Einstein/NBAE/Getty Images; Chasity Melvin by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty Images)