Missed FTs spoil rally in San Antonio

Texas Holds ‘em


Tuesday’s scrappy affair in San Antonio was shaping up just how the Detroit Shock like it. Defense dictated the flow from the early moments, and rebounds were more plentiful than points. Still, they chipped away a 13-point deficit, led by four with 1:25 left and were still leading in the final minute, 64-61.

Then the Silver Stars proved they could grind a win out, too.

San Antonio (10-6) tied the game at 65, and then outscored Detroit 14-4 to close overtime with a 79-72 victory. The loss dropped the Shock to 5-6 on the road after losing only five times away from The Palace in 2007.

Katie Smith opened scoring in the extra session for Detroit (12-6) with a 3-pointer, her fourth of the night. She finished with 17 points and a season-high nine assists.

But Detroit’s scoring bigs, Kara Braxton and Plenette Pierson, both fouled out in the extra session, putting San Antonio in the bonus. All-WNBA guard Becky Hammon made four free throws in less than 30 seconds to give the Silver Stars a 73-70 lead. Hammon misfired early, but she got hot late, finishing with 19 points and six assists.

Detroit’s defense forced Hammon into a critical turnover with 18 seconds left in the fourth, putting Pierson at the foul line with a 64-63 lead. She split the free throws, and the miss proved costly. Both teams attempted 23 free throws but San Antonio converted 21 to Detroit’s 15.

Silver Stars pivot Ann Wauters, who had 17 points and nine rebounds, scored on the subsequent in-bounds play, giving Detroit a chance to win it with 16 seconds remaining.

Deanna Nolan, who hit three go-ahead jumpers in the fourth quarter, couldn’t get the ball to go down on the final possession of regulation. She finished with 11 points on 5-of-17 shooting, including 1-of-5 from downtown. Her only triple put Detroit ahead, 57-55. She also had seven rebounds and four assists.

"We fought back we had a chance to finish it off in regulation and obviously we had a good look to finish off the ballgame but in overtime they got to the free throw line and got themselves a little lead and (we) couldn't quite put the ball in the hole,” Smith said.

Silver Stars forward Sophia Young had 27 points and eight rebounds. She was 10-of-19 from the floor and had the team’s only misses at the foul line, making a respectable seven of nine.

"Sophia Young is a great player, she is good offensively and defensively,” said Braxton, who followed up her career-high 26 points Sunday with a 16-point outing. “We knew that coming into the game, so we tried to contain her but she had a hot game. Big props to her as you have to give her credit.”

Tied at 10, the Silver Stars ended the first quarter on a 9-1 roll and led throughout the next two quarters, enjoying their largest lead before halftime, 37-24. Young and Wauters scored 11 apiece in the first half.

With San Antonio holding opponents to a league-low 28.4 percent shooting from 3-point range, Detroit had to pound away at its 37-28 halftime deficit, though Smith delivered on occasion. She hit one trey in the third quarter to make it 41-35, then another to tie the game at 50 early in the fourth quarter. Nolan followed up with her first go-ahead jumper. The 8-2 Detroit run to open the fourth forced Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes to call a timeout.

“The Shock were really executing well down the stretch,” Hughes said. “We were doing some great things with the basketball and Detroit had answers for almost everything. We had a very persistent attitude tonight and battled in every situation.”

Despite playing their third game in four nights, the Shock may have had their best performance of the string, grabbing more offensive and total rebounds than San Antonio and committing 14 turnovers, a modest tally after 45 minutes against the league’s second-best team at forcing turnovers. A lot of that improvement had to do with the return of forwards Cheryl Ford and Pierson, who both sat out Sunday’s win for additional rest. Ford had 10 points and eight rebounds.

Pierson, who suffered a knee strain Thursday and also missed Saturday’s loss at Chicago, finished with 11 points and seven rebounds. A 47-percent field goal shooter, Pierson shot 4-of-14.

The Shock, who are 5-4 against the Western Conference, will host the Silver Stars July 27 in the final game before the month-long Olympic break.

AfterShocks:

  • In their last three victories, Detroit has averaged 89 points per game. The number plunges to 66.3 in their past three defeats.
  • The Shock were 12-5 on the road in 2007 but only 9-8 in 2006, when they won the championship.