8:00 PM ET, July 12, 2007
The Detroit Shock believe they have figured out how to beat Chicago's zone defense, and the Sky don't have much time if they want to make adjustments.The Shock look to continue one of the best offensive stretches in their history and remain undefeated against the Sky as the teams conclude a home-and-home series Thursday night.Detroit (13-5) has used second-half surges to score a combined 203 points over its last two games, winning both after a season-worst three-game losing streak. The Shock shot 69 percent in the second half to beat the Sky 92-84 on Tuesday night.Detroit All-Star Deanna Nolan, who had 18 points and seven assists, said the team was able to find holes in Chicago's zone after being frustrated in the first half."The opening of the zone is in the middle, and that's what got us our shots," she told the Shock's official Web site. "Just taking our time, finding the open man, especially when the ball gets in the middle. Once the ball gets in the middle it opens up the outside and vice versa."Detroit scored a league-record 72 points in the second half of Sunday's 111-82 rout of Phoenix. The Shock are on their best offensive run since scoring a combined 204 points to record two wins in June 2000, which was the only other time they've scored 90 or more points in consecutive games.Swin Cash scored 20 points Tuesday to lead Detroit, which had five players reach double figures and scored 52 points in the second half. The Shock scored a WNBA-record 40 points in the third quarter against the Mercury."We have so many great players that we seem to start every game playing at top speed," Cash said. "It takes us a while to play with patience."Nolan and Cash are averaging 18.0 and 17.0 points, respectively, in their last two games.Detroit has been successful despite limiting All-Star center Kara Braxton's minutes.Coach Bill Laimbeer reinstated Braxton into the starting lineup Tuesday, two days after benching her for the majority of the Phoenix game. Braxton, though, only played four minutes in the first half against the Sky (8-11) and finished with eight points in 12 minutes.While the Shock were able to take advantage of the Sky's defense by the second half, Chicago's Candice Dupree had trouble making the most of her opportunities. Dupree had 17 points but shot just 8-for-26."The scheme we had going -- she can make those shots, and that's why we were doing it," Chicago coach Bo Overton said of Dupree. "If Detroit was going to give them to us, she was going to take them. She got her shots up."Dupree, who is averaging 19.3 points, missed more shots in the second half (13) than the entire Shock team combined (eight).The Sky have lost three straight and six of eight. They are tied with Connecticut for the WNBA's worst home record at 2-6.