Pierson, Smith score 21 of Detroit’s last 23 points

Fourth-quarter Flourish


Shock 81, Silver Stars 78Player of the Game
July 31, 2007
AT&T Center
San Antonio, TX
Boxscore
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Leaderboard
Points:
(DET) P. Pierson, 21
(SAS) B. Hammon, 26
Rebounds:
(DET) Two Tied, 6
(SAS) V. Johnson, 9
Assists:
(DET) Two Tied, 3
(SAS) B. Hammon, 6
Blocks:
(DET) Two Tied, 2
(SAS) R. Riley, 1
If Tuesday's meeting between the Detroit Shock and the San Antonio Silver Stars is indeed a preview of the WNBA Finals – as their status as conference leaders suggests is possible – then the margin of victory for the championship will be slim. Very slim.

The Shock leave San Antonio with an 84-79 victory, ending the month of July with a measure of revenge over the team that beat them by three points at The Palace on July 1. Detroit entered the fourth quarter trailing 61-65, but seized control when Plenette Pierson and Katie Smith combined to score 21 of Detroit's final 23 points.

Pierson opened the fourth quarter with eight points for a 69-67 lead. Smith later scored seven straight for a 78-74 lead with 2:25 remaining. The Shock (21-6) did not trail again. Pierson scored a team-high 22 points; Smith had 21 points, shot 7-for-7 from the foul line and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Silver Stars (16-9) had a chance to tie when Becky Hammon, who scored a game-high 26, missed a potential game-tying 3-pointer that left two seconds on the clock. Forward Sophia Young was San Antonio’s other big scorer with 23 points on 10-of-21 from the field.

The Shock survived 12 lead changes and nine ties to win their second straight nail-biter on ESPN2 in as many weeks. For the first time since last Tuesday's 92-88 victory at Connecticut -- where Deanna Nolan set a franchise record with 36 points -- the Shock All-Star guard scored in double figures. She broke out of a three-game slump with 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. She played all 40 minutes.

The Shock led by as many as 10 points before the Silver Stars closed the first half on a 14-2 run to take a 44-42 halftime lead. Detroit missed nine of its last 10 field-goal attempts in the half but shot well for the game overall (45.7 percent).

Former San Antonio center Kate Feenstra scored her only four points of the night on Detroit's first two possessions of the second half for a 46-44 lead. Minutes later, back-to-back triples by Detroit's other former Silver Star, Pee Wee Johnson, made it 52-49. As they did all night, San Antonio battled back, scoring the next seven points. The tug-of-war seemed to frustrated the Shock. Head coach Bill Laimbeer, assistant coach Rick Mahorn and Pierson were all whistled for technical fouls in the second half.

By holding the Silver Stars to 14 points in the fourth quarter, the Shock avoided being swept by the Silver Stars franchise for the first time since 2002, when the team was based in Utah.

AfterShocks: After missing the first meeting with her former team due to a sprained left foot, center Ruth Riley picked up three fouls in the first quarter and struggled to a 2-for-10 shooting night for San Antonio.

  • Midseason addition forward Iciss Tillis got her first start of the year so that Swin Cash could play at her natural small forward spot, assistant coach Cheryl Reeve told ESPN2 during the second quarter. Tillis had a turnover on Detroit's first possession and missed her only attempt, a 3-pointer. She played six minutes. Tillis was replaced at the start of the second half by guard Elaine Powell, who has started six games with Ford out. Powell fared no better, playing nine scoreless minutes. She missed two free throws that gave Hammon a chance to hit the potential game-tying bucket.