Detroit 69, San Antonio 61
SAN ANTONIO, Oct. 3 (AP) -- Katie Smith is taking charge on the court, and her energetic effort has helped move the Detroit Shock within a win of their second WNBA championship in three years.
Smith scored 22 points and the Shock built a big lead in the first quarter, then hung on to beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 69-61 Friday night and go up 2-0 in the WNBA finals.
Game 3 in the best-of-five series is Sunday at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Mich.
"You want to find a way to win, whether it's pickup or a game here,'' said Smith, who has led the Shock in scoring for both games. "You just try to stay aggressive. I just tried to stay in that attack mode.''
Becky Hammon went 11-of-12 from the foul line and had 24 points to lead San Antonio.
The Silver Stars tied the game with 3:26 left in the third quarter on a pair of free throws by Hammon, and she put San Antonio ahead 45-44 with 1:46 left in the quarter on another pair of free throws.
"We exerted a lot of energy to crawl back,'' Hammon said.
Plenette Pierson, wearing a protective wrap on her shoulder after missing Game 1 with an injury, answered with a reverse layup for her only points of the night. Smith followed with two free throws that gave Detroit a 48-45 lead heading into the fourth quarter .
The Shock expanded the lead to 66-55 with 2:15 to play after Smith hit a 10-foot jumper, Taj McWilliams-Franklin scored on a 17-footer and Braxton made a layup.
Smith, McWilliams-Franklin and Braxton combined to go 8-of-11 in the fourth quarter and outscored San Antonio 17-16.
Smith scored 25 points in Detroit's eight-point Game 1 victory. She's hit 6-of-12 3-pointers and is averaging 23.5 points in the finals.
"Katie Smith is killing us,'' Hammon said. "And she's facilitating a lot of people.''
Detroit made nine of its first 10 shots and San Antonio missed its first seven attempts, allowing the Shock to build a 10-0 lead. The Silver Stars didn't score from the floor until 5:57 into the game, when Hammon converted on a drive to the basket that made it 19-4.
"Detroit came out strong,'' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. "They made shots, did things, put pressure back on us.''
The Shock, who shot 51 percent from the field, had their own cold spells. During a 7:25 stretch through the first and second quarters, they went 1-for-10 from the floor.
The Shock also turned the ball over seven times in the first 5:21 of the second quarter, allowing San Antonio to cut the 17-point lead to 25-24 with 4:23 left before halftime.
Ann Wauters did most of the work for San Antonio, scoring six points during a 12-0 run to open the second quarter.
"When they started to make that run in the second quarter we just kept our composure and kept on playing,'' Shock coach Bill Laimbeer said. "We knew at some point in the second half we'd get our turn, and we did. And we took it.''
The Shock scored on three straight trips down the floor, twice when Smith got loose for layups, to make it 31-26 with 2:54 left before halftime. San Antonio missed five shots to finish the half, none of them coming closer than 14 feet.
"We've got to spread the floor and space it a little better,'' Hughes said.
Smith pulled down a rebound and fired a quick pass to Nolan on the move at midcourt, setting up an easy layup with 4 seconds left and giving the Shock a 35-28 lead at the break.
Silver Stars backup Helen Darling was in uniform for the first time this series, but did not play. She's been out since straining her right calf during last Saturday's Game 2 victory over Los Angeles in the Western Conference finals.
Fellow reserve Edwige Lawson-Wade did not dress again because of a right ankle sprain.