INDIANAPOLIS, August 17 (Ticker) -- Deanna Nolan and the Detroit Shock began their quest for a second WNBA title on the right foot.

Nolan scored 18 points to lead the Shock to a 68-56 victory over the Indiana Fever in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Led by Nolan, Detroit is firmly in the driver's seat of this best-of-three series. The Shock, who captured their only title in franchise history in 2003, can advance to the conference finals with a victory in Detroit on Saturday.

Katie Smith scored 17 points and Cheryl Ford added 11 and 10 rebounds for the Shock, who outscored the Fever by a 38-28 margin in the second half.

Indiana led, 44-43, late in the third quarter when Plenette Pierson drilled a short jumper with 21.4 seconds remaining in the session to ignite a 13-0 run and give Detroit the lead for good.

Nolan scored seven points during the outburst and knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:09 remaining in the contest, capping the run and pushing Detroit's cushion to 56-44.

Two-time reigning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Tamika Catchings scored 17 points while Tamika Whitmore chipped in 12 for the Fever, who shot just 33 percent (21-of-64) from the floor.

"That's one of the things my team expects me to do .. step up," Catchings said. "But I'm disappointed that I kind of went away a little in the second and third quarters. They dropped into a zone, and we settled for outside shots."

Wearing protective goggles due to a left eye abrasion, Whitmore struggled, shooting just 4-of-15.