Shock 86

(7-4, 3-4 away)

Sting 74


    11:30 AM ET, June 22, 2006

    1 2 3 4 T
    TUL 25 17 18 2686
    CHA 15 23 15 2174

    Top Performers

    Tulsa: C. Ford 24 Pts, 14 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl, 1 Blk

    Charlotte: K. Mazzante 17 Pts, 4 Reb, 2 Ast, 4 Stl

    Ford's 24 points, 14 boards lead Shock past Sting 

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer has been wanting Cheryl Ford to become a bigger offensive force.

    Ford had a career-high 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Shock to their third straight win, 86-74 over the Charlotte Sting on Thursday.

    "The last two years we've known her potential, but she never really embraced it," Laimbeer said. "She went through the motions. But this year's she's been driven to be a great player. She has all the talent in the world. If she executes, she's phenomenal."

    Katie Smith added 16 points and Deanna Nolan had 14, including a 3-pointer that capped an 8-0 run that put the Shock ahead 70-60 with 7:08 left. After the Sting came within four, Detroit pulled away with Ford's putback and Smith's 3-pointer that helped extend the lead to 11 with two minutes left.

    Detroit (7-4) shot 49 percent and held a 39-24 rebounding edge. Ford, the league's top rebounder, posted her seventh double-double. She has 57 points and 44 rebounds in the past three games.

    "The hard work is paying off," Ford said. "I'm getting the ball more and being more patient on my shots."

    Tammy Sutton-Brown and Tangela Smith each scored 18 points and Kelly Mazzante added a career-high 17 for the Sting (2-9), who lost their fifth straight.

    Two days after Sting coach Muggsy Bogues said his team had "no heart" following a 24-point home loss to Connecticut, Charlotte got off to another poor start. Rookie LaToya Bond, starting again in place of injured point guard Helen Darling, committed back-to-back turnovers that led to two layups and Detroit took an early 18-6 lead.

    The Shock built a 23-8 advantage before the Sting closed the quarter on an 8-0 run.

    "We put forth the effort today," Bogues said. "We really came out and played hard all the way through. If we continue playing like that, we'll win over share of games."

    Detroit built double-digit leads in the second and third quarters, but the Sting rallied each time, getting within 60-58 on Mazzante's two free throws with 8:46 left in the fourth.

    "Every game they look for me to come off the bench with energy, get some open shots and continue to create my offense off my defense," said Mazzante, whose previous career-high was 15 points in 2004.

    The morning game was played before a crowd of 6,710, and most were children from area summer camps. The youngsters watched Ford conduct a clinic inside.

    "She's playing so big right now," Laimbeer said. "She's arguably the best player in the league at this point in time."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Tulsa Charlotte
    Points 86 74
    FG Made-Attempted 32-65 (.000) 26-64 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 7-11 (.636) 7-17 (.412)
    FT Made-Attempted 15-18 (.000) 15-21 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 11-39 10-24
    Assists 18 17
    Turnovers 19 15
    Steals 7 11
    Blocks 5 5
    Fast Break Points 13 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 21 (0/0)