Detroit Guard Scores 22 Points to Force Fifth Game
Smith Shocks Sacramento
By Matthew Brennan, WNBA.com
DETROIT, Sept. 6 -- Once again the Detroit Shock were in a must win situation with their backs against the wall. Once again, the Shock were coming off of a bad blowout loss where they had been thoroughly outplayed. And once again, Katie Smith would put on a dazzling offensive performance and lead her Detroit team back from the brink of elimination.
Smith led all scorers with 22 points and sparked the Detroit Shock to a 72-52 victory, forcing the series back to Detroit for a decisive Game 5. "We played a little harder, and we played a little smarter," said Smith after the game. "We brought and matched their intensity for the 40 minutes. Whenever they made a run, we withstood it and we were able to make stops and get back into the ballgame."
Smith and her teammates did not become discouraged as they vowed to not go out of Sacramento quietly. "Not only the last game, they way we performed as competitors you want to get on the floor and right your wrongs in a way," said Smith. "We obviously didn't want them to have their celebration tonight, and we wanted another chance to get home and take care of business."
Smith put her struggles on Sunday night behind her, as she came out firing with 17 points in the first half. Her output was even more impressive considering that her backcourt mate Deanna Nolan was limited by foul trouble for much of the first half, leaving Smith as Detroit's only perimeter option. Smith shot 6-11, including two three-pointers, as Detroit deflated the home crowd by taking a 43-37 lead into the locker room.
Smith was quiet in the third quarter as the Monarchs rallied, but in the final stanza she stepped up once again and put the game out of reach with a three-pointer with 4:39 remaining in the game. She followed up with a short fadeaway that was all net, and the Shock were well on their way back to Detroit with the series tied.
"There was a little stalemate there, and we were going back and forth, so obviously to get a bucket that makes you breath a little bit easier puts a little more pressure on them. I got a good look, knocked it down, and obviously the next bucket probably put it out of reach."
Detroit Head Coach Bill Laimbeer had plenty to say about Smith's impact in forcing a final fifth game of the series, and her consistency throughout the playoffs.
"I'm giving Katie Smith tomorrow off. She's just so steady, she's so consistent, and she made the big shots", said Laimbeer. "Anytime they made a run, Katie Smith knocked down a three ball. Every time Katie Smith got the ball, even before she shot it, you could hear the crowd groan. That's the best feeling on in the world when you are on the road."
The Detroit crowd will not be groaning in Game 5 when Smith gets the ball, but if she can follow up on her performance in Game 4, the Shock will be tough to defeat at Joe Louis Arena. Smith's offensive output will definitely be one of the deciding factors.