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20080720/SACDET
Monarchs-Shock Preview
By ANDY LEFKOWITZ, STATS Editor

The Detroit Shock put together their most dominating road performance of the season in their last game. On Sunday night, they'll put their unbeaten home record on the line against a team they've dominated over the last two years.

Eastern Conference-leading Detroit looks to move to 11-0 at home when it meets the Sacramento Monarchs, who will try to keep their own modest winning streak alive.

The Shock (16-7) have won four straight at home over the Monarchs (11-11), including two victories en route to Detroit's second WNBA title in 2006.

Though the Shock are the WNBA's only unbeaten team at home in 2008, they haven't been blowing out their opponents. Six of Detroit's 10 wins at The Palace of Auburn Hills have come by less than 10 points, including a 66-63 victory over Chicago on Wednesday.

The Shock led by 23 before holding on Wednesday, four days after blowing an 18-point lead in a 74-64 loss at New York.

"In New York, it was a lot about running out of gas," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said, "but today, we just got selfish. We were taking shots with an 18-point lead that we should never have taken."

Detroit made sure it didn't waste another big lead on Friday. Deanna Nolan scored 21 of her 26 points in the first half, and the Shock snapped a four-game road slide with a 99-62 rout of Washington. Cheryl Ford added 14 points, and Kara Braxton, Plenette Pierson and Alexis Hornbuckle each had 10 as the Shock led by as many as 46 and shot 57.1 percent from the field.

The Shock beat the Monarchs 84-70 on June 6 in Sacramento behind 30 points from Katie Smith, who tied a career high with seven 3-pointers. Smith leads Detroit with 15.2 points per game while Nolan is averaging 14.0.

Sacramento had difficulty holding on to a big lead in its last game. The Monarchs nearly squandered a 19-point advantage, but won their third in a row and moved back to .500 with a 77-73 victory over expansion Atlanta on Friday.

"We did what we needed to do to get this win," said Nicole Powell, who had 12 points and nine rebounds but was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc. "No, we're not happy with the way we played, but at this point in the season you're happy with any win you get. Every game is important the rest of the season."

Powell, the Monarchs' leading scorer (13.7), had 17 in the loss to Detroit last month, making her the only starter to finish in double figures.

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