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20080928/NYLDET
Liberty-Shock Preview
By MIKE LIPKA, STATS Writer

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The Detroit Shock relied on their home-court advantage at The Palace of Auburn Hills to earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference - and to get back to the conference finals.

If they're going to win the East for the third straight season, however, they'll have to hope the advantage quickly transfers to a new home.

After winning a tight Game 1, the New York Liberty will try to eliminate the Shock in Game 2 of their East finals series, which will take place Sunday at Eastern Michigan University.

Detroit's 14-3 record at home in the regular season was the best in the East, and the Shock beat Indiana 80-61 in the decisive Game 3 of their first-round series in Auburn Hills.

But all of those games took place at The Palace. With Disney on Ice coming to the arena and the Detroit Red Wings playing at Joe Louis Arena, where the Shock won the 2006 WNBA title, the remaining games in this series will take place more than 50 miles away in Ypsilanti.

The Shock will hope for a better result than they got in Manhattan. In Game 1 on Friday, Detroit allowed just eight first-quarter points and led New York by six after three, but the Liberty took control in the final 10 minutes for a 60-56 win.

"We just match up well with them," Liberty reserve guard Erin Thorn said. "Other teams have a problem with their quickness and physicality, we battle with them."

Shameka Christon had 11 points and 11 rebounds for New York, while Janel McCarville added a team-high 17 points, leaving the Liberty one win shy of advancing to the WNBA finals for the fifth time overall and first since 2002.

Still, New York dropped three of its four meetings with the Shock in the regular season, including two losses at Detroit. The Liberty also led the Shock 1-0 after winning at home in a first-round playoff series last year, but lost twice on the road and were eliminated.

"You have to win two games," New York coach Pat Coyle said. "To win in this league you have to win at least one on the road. There is no sense of complaining, all we can do is go out there and play."

The Liberty have already won a series on the road in this postseason. They lost Game 2 in the first round at Connecticut, but got past the Sun in Game 3 with a 66-62 win.

Regardless of location, it still won't be easy against a Detroit club that has won the conference finals in three games each of the last two seasons. Last year, the Shock dropped Game 1 at Indiana before beating the Fever twice at home.

"We've been in this situation before," Detroit guard Deanna Nolan said. "That's the whole point of having home-court advantage. That's what we do, we win at home. You can't put your head down because of this game because we didn't play as good as we know we can play."

Nolan had 22 points on Friday, including 11 in the final three minutes, but it wasn't enough to save the Shock, who shot just 34.4 percent from the field.

"In the fourth quarter we made bad decisions offensively," Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "... We pride ourselves in being a smart basketball team and for two and half quarters we played smart and the other one and half we played dumb."

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