Shock guard pours in franchise-record 44 points

Nolan Has A Career Night

It took five periods and a franchise-record 44 points from Deanna Nolan Friday night for the Detroit Shock to edge out the Minnesota Lynx, 98-93.

Nolan scored 11 points in the last 1:05 of regulation to send the game to overtime. With 4.1 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, she hit three clutch free-throws to tie the game at 84 after she was fouled while shooting a three-pointer.

Despite going 0 for 3 from the field in the first and third quarters combined, Nolan scored 14 points in the second quarter and 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help her team sustain a perfect record at The Palace this season (5-0).

“It was just one of those nights where shots were falling,” Nolan said. “Shots were falling and it was just hard to stop when you’re in the zone.”

The Shock started off sloppy. Detroit scored 13 points in the first quarter, on 3 for 14 shooting, and turned the ball over six times. But Nolan took over in the second quarter. She went 6 for 7 from field and the Shock led at halftime, 42-34.

The third quarter was a mirror image of the first. Detroit came out flat and Nolan went scoreless, allowing the Lynx back into the game. Seimone Augustus relentlessly attacked after the break, scoring nine of her 26 points in the period. Now the Lynx were within one heading into the fourth (57-56).

It looked like Minnesota would steal the win after a 10-1 run gave them a 74-67 lead with under four minutes left in the game. But Nolan turned up the heat and willed her team into the extra period.

In overtime, Nolan hit two more clutch free-throws to put the Shock up 96-93 with 15.5 seconds left, but at the other end gave Minnesota the same gift she was awarded at the end of regulation. She fouled Anna DeForge while shooting a three-pointer, giving her a chance to tie the game at the foul line. But DeForge was unable to connect on any of the free-throw attempts and the Shock triumphed.

Even with the huge performance from Nolan, the Shock didn’t resemble a well-oiled machine. The Shock’s languid play may have been a result of the four-game road trip they just returned from this week.

“We didn’t play well tonight. Fortunately we had Deanna carry us on her shoulders,” head coach Bill Laimbeer said. “Coming back from the west-coast road trip is, historically in professional basketball, is the sloppiest game you’re going to play. I think we started off that way with no exception, we did not have our legs. We were slow and lethargic and fortunately we found it at some point in the game.”

Nolan’s 44 points were the fourth highest total for a game in WNBA history. Diana Taurasi had 47 in 2006 at Houston and Lauren Jackson also recorded 47 in 2007 at Washington. Katie Smith still can exercise her right to brag to her teammate. She scored 46 in 2001 when she played for Minnesota.

Tasha Humphrey, coming off her 28-point game Saturday in Phoenix, had 10 points all in the first half. Katie Smith, Plenette Pierson and Cheryl Ford all contributed to the win with double figures in scoring.

The Shock now hit the road again to take on the East’s last-place Atlanta Dream (0-11) Sunday. They will then face the first-place Connecticut Sun (10-3) Tuesday before returning home to face Connecticut again on Thursday.