Reaching for the Sky
Pierson exploded out of the gate scoring 11 of her 15 points in the first half. She shot 63.5 percent from the field and grabbed four of her six rebounds. Perkins did equally well shooting 50% percent from the field after the half, netting eight of her game high 19 points. On top of scoring she also dished out three assists and ended with seven rebounds. Tonight however it was the team that won the game and it will take the last stretch of the season to decide which of these former Texas Tech teammates will receive the first year award.
The first quarter of play opened up with 14 points in the paint from Shock forward Swin Cash and center Kara Braxton. Cash went 4-for-5 from the field as Braxton shot a perfect 3-for-3 to help lead Detroit to a 20-16 lead after the first 10 minutes.
The Sky weren’t to be counted out just yet. They battled on the boards in the beginning of the second quarter and had nine points off of second chance opportunites. But Detroit didn’t lie down. Pierson scored seven points in three minutes to keep the Shock lead. With 1:07 left in the half, Stacey Dales made a layup from Perkins to bring the score within one point (29-28). Detroit continued to attack and get themselves to the free throw line to extend their lead back to five to finish the half 34-39.
The Sky continued to turn up the intensity in the third quarter as they found their way to the paint. They scored 22 points down low compared to the Shocks 18. But Detroit held them off, not letting Chicago get any closer then three points. With 1:37 left, Shock guard Shannon Johnson fouled Perkins on a running jump shot and she secured the three-point play to tie the game 46-46. Detroit answered back the next trip down the floor as Katie Smith scored her first three of eight points on a pass from Cash to take back the lead 49-47.
But once again the Sky wasn’t going to give up. They came out in the fourth and took the lead two minutes in when Brooke Wyckoff nailed a 3-pointer to give Chicago a 51-49 lead and Detroit answered with an 8-0 run pulling away 57-53. With 1:07 remaining in the game the ball was loose and after several dives from players Detroit’s Pierson came up with it. She passed to Cash who cut to the basket but was called for an offensive foul on the way. With :40 seconds left Chicago’s Perkins shot a 3-pointer to tie the game but missed.
Detroit now stands 22-6 with the league’s best record and one step closer to securing home advantage for the playoffs. Chicago was without leading scorer Candice Dupree who was at home tending to family issues. They now stand 12-16 and in fourth place only one game ahead of Washington.