CHICAGO(AP) Katie Smith scored 17 points to help the defending champion Detroit Shock preserve their playoff hopes with a 76-67 victory over the Chicago Sky on Saturday night.
The sixth-place Shock (10-14) dominated the second half after sluggish play early on, snapping a three-game losing to move 1 1/2 games behind Washington and Chicago for the fourth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.
"We're not out of the playoffs yet and we don't want to shut the doors on ourselves,'' Shock guard Alexis Hornbuckle said. "Every game (now) is so important. We need consistency and we'll keep working at it.''
Hornbuckle and Deanna Nolan each added 10 points for Detroit.
Candice Dupree led Chicago (13-14) with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Tamera Young added 14 points. The Sky, playing without injured All-Star center Sylvia Fowles for the second straight game, remained tied with the Mystics, who lost later at Sacramento.
"I just feel like people have no motivation,'' Dupree said. "This is the first time in franchise history we could potentially make the playoffs and I don't feel like everybody plays like that every night We've got to pick it up.''
The Shock, who trailed 43-40 at halftime, had some of their best shooting in the third quarter as Smith hit three 3-pointers over a 4:09 span. Shavonte Zellous had 3 as Detroit opened a 56-51 lead with 3:40 left in the period.
Smith scored 13 points in the third quarter, helping the Shock take an eight-point lead and they extended it to 70-55 early in the fourth.
"We came out and played very hard in the second half and locked in defensively,'' said Shock coach Rick Mahorn. "Katie Smith got some good open looks and when she gets looks like that she gets shots in.''
Dupree scored eight points in the first quarter, including a 3 that tied the score at 21 in the final minute.
The Sky then led by as many as nine points halfway through the second quarter following a 9-0 run capped by two free throws from Young.