AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 14 --
She may not start, but Kedra Holland-Corn
was there when the Shock needed her most at the end.
"She's the best sixth man in the league, bar none," Ruth Riley said.
Holland-Corn led the Shock with 16 points, which included a 4-for-5 performance from three-point range. No three-pointer was more important than the one Holland-Corn hit from the left corner with a minute to play.
Kedra Holland-Corn was clutch for the Shock.|
"At crucial times, Kedra always comes through," Elaine Powell
Holland-Corn is no stranger to the clutch situation. She made big shots in the 1995 NCAA tournament when she was at Georgia.
"Against Colorado to go to the Final Four," Holland-Corn said. "Hit three threes. We were down 11 with 3:40 to go, I think. That's what I was thinking the last couple of minutes of the game."
injured her back in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals. She's done everything possible to keep it loose: whirlpools, pedaling on the stationary bike, massage therapy, you name it. After a physical Game 2, she sported a large pack of ice on the small of her back.
It makes one wonder, though, which was icier, the pack on her back or the blood coursing through Nolan's veins? Nolan calmly and coolly nailed the game-winning free throw with 12 seconds left in the game.
"I thought she was going to make 'em, no doubt," Powell said.
"A lot of people look at our front court and they forget about the backcourt," starting point guard Elaine Powell said. "At a crucial point in time, anybody can take over the game."
The Shock's guards made quite an impression in Game 2, scoring 32 of the Shock's 62 points, including the final five points to win the game.
Powell expects Tuesday's Game 3 to be as physical as Game 2, which was difficult on guards and post players alike.
"L.A. is L.A.," Powell said, "and we're not going to change. It's gonna be one big cat fight on Tuesday."
ONE FOR THE AGES
After a one-point loss in a game where his team had a chance to win its third consecutive WNBA title, one would not blame Sparks coach Michael Cooper
if he were sour after such a defeat.
Yet, Cooper, though disappointed with the loss, was ebullient in front of the gathered media.
"You know what, I am enjoying this so much, because the WNBA has definitely gone to another level," Cooper said. "I thought, 'What a great game.'
"What a great game. I'm so proud and happy to be a part of it."
PARTY LIKE IT'S ...
... 1999, which was the last time a WNBA Finals series went to a decisive third game. That year, the Houston Comets defeated the New York Liberty. Game 2 of that series was also decided by one point. You may remember the Liberty's Teresa Weatherspoon
won the game with an improbable half-court shot.
Two-time Finals MVP Lisa Leslie
, known as "Smooth" to her teammates, didn't have a bucket from the floor until she hit one at 14:19 of the second half. Leslie was 0-for-6 in the first half, but finished 6-for-13 from the field as she led the Sparks all the way back from a 19-point deficit.
Leslie's overall field goal percentage (48.8 percent) is second highest in Finals history, right behind teammate DeLisha Milton, who has shot 49.2 percent in her six Finals games.
Before the game, Sparks guard Tamecka Dixon
noted that Los Angeles would need to take the crowd out of the game.
"The first seven or eight minutes will be crucial," Dixon said.
And they were crucial ... for the Shock. The "Beat L.A." chant began as soon as the ball was tossed in the air for the opening tip. Many in the crowd flashed small placards reading "Beat L.A." Detroit jumped to a double-digit lead 7:42 into the game on a Nolan jumper.
Points have been at a premium for both teams in this physical series, so making the freebies have been important. And both teams have been excellent from the free throw line.
The Shock have been nearly perfect from the free throw line, going 23 for 25 (92.0 percent), while the Sparks have hit 27 of their 32 (84.3 percent) free throws.
Until their loss in Game 2, the Sparks had played in five WNBA Finals games and had won all five as they were going for a three-sweep.
The Sparks, however, aren't strangers to the three-game series in the 2003 WNBA Playoffs. L.A. was pushed to the brink in the first round against the Lynx and in the Western Conference Finals against Sacramento. On Tuesday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2), the Sparks will play their first Game 3 of these playoffs on the road.
Lakers guard Derek Fisher, who was courtside at Game 1, followed the Sparks to Detroit. He was wearing his ubiquitous Lisa Leslie jersey. ... The 2003 WNBA First and Second teams
were introduced just before the start of Game 2. Seattle's Lauren Jackson
was named the 2003 WNBA Most Valuable Player presented by Chevy
. ... Jackson's Storm teammate, Sue Bird
, has been doing color commentary for ESPN radio. ...