AUBURN HILLS, August 11, 2007 (AP) -- Deanna Nolan scored 26 points - 18 in the second half - and the Detroit Shock beat the Indiana Fever 74-69 Saturday to clinch home-court advantage throughout the WNBA playoffs.
Detroit (24-6) secured the league's best record by holding off a fourth-quarter comeback by Indiana.
Nolan made a pair of free throws with 29.9 seconds remaining to give Detroit a 72-69 lead and Indiana did not get a good look at the basket on its ensuing possession.
"We gave them too big a lead and even though we had a fast and furious last five minutes and had a chance, sometimes the margin is too big to overcome,'' Fever coach Brian Winters said. "Against a good team like that, you can't let that happen.''
Detroit's Katie Smith added 15 points, six rebounds and five assists for the defending WNBA champions.
The Shock struggled in the first half, shooting just 35 percent from the field while committing nine turnovers that the Fever turned into 17 points.
Detroit trailed 41-31 at halftime, but outscored the Fever 28-9 in the third quarter to take a 59-50 lead into the fourth.
Nolan led the third-quarter charge with 14 points. Her three-point play with 5:32 to go in the third gave the Shock their first lead since 5:54 remained in the first quarter.
"She is unstoppable when she gets in her zone,'' Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said of Nolan. "When she is on like that we just want to give her the ball as much as possible.''
Detroit pushed the lead to 15 early in the fourth quarter before the Fever put together a 19-5 run sparked by three consecutive three-pointers by White to cut the lead to 70-69.
Laimbeer said he plans to rest his starters for the final four games, and forward Swin Cash will not travel with the team to tomorrow's game against New York.