Pierson Powers Shock Victory
In both meetings this week, a poor start by Detroit was negated by a dominant second half at both ends of the floor. The Shock missed eight of their first nine shots Thursday and trailed 11-3, at which point little else went right for Chicago. On Tuesday at The Palace, the Shock trailed 11-2 before taking a 92-84 victory.
Things turned around when sixth-woman Plenette Pierson entered the game. She was 4-of-6 from the field for eight points in the first quarter, while the rest of the team was 2-of-14. Pierson finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, one board shy of her third double-double in as many games.
The Shock tied the game at 28 when Deanna Nolan hit a 3-pointer. They took their first lead, 30-28, on a layup by Elaine Powell, eventually carving out a 40-37 halftime advantage. Nolan had a team-high 18 points and eight rebounds. After her first DNP of the season Tuesday, Powell scored six points and three assists in the first half. Her season high is seven points.
Swin Cash, Cheryl Ford and Katie Smith each scored 11 points for Detroit. Smith scored all 11 after halftime, including eight in the third quarter as the Shock pushed their lead to 62-50. The Shock rolled in the fourth and bucket by Pierson gave Detroit its biggest lead of the game, 71-52. The Shock exploited Chicago’s zone defense on Tuesday for 71.4 percent second-half shooting, so when Sky head coach Bo Overton played hardly any zone Thursday, the Shock pulled away by simply shutting them down, holding them to 28 points after halftime.
Sky forward Candice Dupree, the league’s No. 3 scorer at 19.4 points per game, was held under her average in both meetings. She scored 17 Tuesday and 16 Thursday and had to work considerably harder for them. A 48.0 percent shooter, Dupree was combined 14-of-34 from the field (32.5 percent) in the two games.
After losing three straight, the Shock have now won three straight entering the WNBA All-Star Weekend. At 14-5, the Shock are one game better than last year’s mark at this time (13-6). Overton and the Sky (8-12) should welcome the All-Star break following their fourth straight loss. The Sky are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
AfterShocks: Center Kara Braxton’s tumultuous half-season ended with an 0-for-2, one-point, three-turnover performance. Braxton will start for the Eastern Conference in Sunday’s All-Star Game alongside Ford and Nolan, who also will participate in the 3-point shootout. Nolan went 2-for-2 from long range Thursday.