Shock Ends Fever’s Season For Third Straight Year

STAR OF THE GAME
Tamika Catchings
After not scoring in the first half, Catchings came out on fire in the third quarter. She finished with 15 points, eight boards and eight assists.
UNSUNG HERO
Tammy Sutton-Brown
An excellent job of running the floor led to Sutton-Brown's team-high 20 points.
QUOTABLE
Tamika Catchings
In General:
“Tonight I thought they came out defensively, straight from the beginning. The attacked us hard on defense and offense. I give a lot of credit to the Detroit team because they came out tonight and they had determination and we didn’t have intensity in the beginning.”

Lin Dunn
In General:
“I have to give the Detroit Shock credit on how they started the game off. After a tough loss on Sunday, they came back with enormous amount of effort and intensity. They absolutely rammed the ball down our throats in the first quarter and I don’t think we responded well.”

HIDDEN NUMBERS
Points in the paint:
Fever 42, Shock 34
Second-chance points:
Fever 4, Shock 15
Fast-break points:
Fever 12, Shock 13
Points off turnovers:
Fever 8, Shock 24
Starters scoring:
Fever 50, Shock 62
Bench scoring:
Fever 11, Shock 18
GAME REPORT
Shock 80, Fever 61
September 23, 2008 at The Palace of Auburn Hills (Detroit, MI)
Box Score | WNBA Recap

Team Record 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Final
Indiana 1-2 7 12 24 18 61
at Detroit 2-1 30 19 11 20 80

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Deanna Nolan scored 21 points, Katie Smith added 15, and the Detroit Shock advanced to the Eastern Conference finals for the third straight year with an 80-61 victory over the Indiana Fever on Tuesday night.

The Shock, who led by as many as 31 points in the first half, will face the Liberty in the conference finals, with Game 1 on Friday in New York. Detroit has home-court advantage in the series, but due to a scheduling conflict, they will play their home games at Eastern Michigan University, about an hour from their normal home at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Tammy Sutton-Brown led the Fever with 20 points and Tamika Catchings scored 15.

The Shock came into the game angered by an incident in Game 2 that saw star forward Plenette Pierson suffer a dislocated shoulder after being flipped to the court by Indiana's Ebony Hoffman. Hoffman was fined by the league, but not suspended.

That meant she was on the floor for Tuesday's opening tip while Pierson was on the Detroit bench with her right arm in a sling.

It didn't matter.

The Shock scored the game's first 12 points, led 30-7 at the end of the first quarter and continued to pour it on in the second period.

The half might have been summed best by the final 20 seconds. Indiana held the ball for a last shot, despite trailing by 30 points, and Sutton-Brown hit a layup with 7.1 seconds to play.

The shot turned out to be meaningless, though, as Nolan dribbled through a static Indiana defense and hit a buzzer-beating jumper that gave Detroit a 49-19 lead at the break.

Nolan, Taj McWilliams-Franklin and Smith combined for 34 points in the half, while Indiana's trio of Katie Douglas, Tamika Catchings and Hoffman were scoreless on 0-for-12 shooting.

The Fever made their first serious run in the third quarter, starting the period with a 22-5 run to cut the margin to 54-41. During one stretch, Douglas had breakaway layups on three straight possessions as the Shock began to look rattled.

Detroit moved the lead to 60-43 at the end of the period, then scored the first five points of the fourth and cruised to the victory.