AUBURN HILLS, Mich., July 26 (Ticker) -- Cheryl Ford and the Detroit Shock capitalized on their hot start.

Ford collected 24 points and 11 rebounds as the surging Shock posted a 91-71 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs.

Katie Smith scored 20 points and Deanna Nolan 14 for the Shock (17-7), who won for the fifth time in six contests to pull within 1 1/2 games of first-place Connecticut in the Eastern Conference.

After a tight first quarter ended with the Shock holding a one-point lead, they caught fire in second by making 10-of-11 shots to build a 50-41 halftime lead.

Ford scored 14 points and Smith 12 in the opening half, when the Shock shot 63 percent (19-of-30). Detroit cooled down a bit in the second half and shot 56 percent (34-of-61) overall.

Ford made 10-of-13 shots and swiped six offensive rebounds to help the Shock to a 33-30 edge on the glass.

A 3-pointer by Nicole Powell with 5:02 left in third quarter pulled the Monarchs within 54-52. But Smith answered 32 seconds later with a shot from the arc to trigger a 12-3 surge that allowed the Shock to rebuild the lead to double digits.

Powell scored 14 points and Rebekkah Brunson added 13 for the Monarchs, who shot just 37 percent (26-of-70) in losing for the second time in their last nine games.

Next Games: Sacramento plays at Connecticut and Detroit plays at Seattle; both on Friday.