Fever 66

(17-11, 7-8 away)

Shock 70

(19-8, 11-2 home)

    Coverage: ESPN2/WatchESPN

    8:00 PM ET, August 1, 2006

    The Palace of Auburn Hills, Detroit, MI

    1 2 3 4 T
    IND 19 16 18 1366
    TUL 20 16 23 1170

    Top Performers

    Indiana: T. Catchings 22 Pts, 7 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

    Tulsa: K. Smith 12 Pts, 3 Reb, 6 Ast, 1 Stl

    Braxton's break-out game helps Detroit shock Indiana

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) -- Bill Laimbeer took a gamble on Kara Braxton a year ago.

    Tuesday, the Detroit Shock coach got a rare return on the wager.

    Braxton, who hadn't reached double figures all season, had 16 points to help the Shock to a 70-66 victory over the Indiana Fever.

    "We've seen flashes of what Kara can do in the last two years, but it has been a struggle," Laimbeer said. "She had a very good game tonight, but it is only one game. She has to keep it going."

    The Shock drafted Braxton seventh overall in 2005, even though she missed her senior season at Georgia after giving birth to a child fathered by current Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman.

    Braxton had a 20-point game against Houston, but finished the season averaging just 6.9 points.

    This year, her scoring average was down to 3.4 points, and she fouled out in just 11 minutes of Sunday's 94-61 loss to Sacramento.

    "I had to pick it up, because I got cussed out by my teammates and coaches after the last game," she said. "It's been frustrating this year, but I've dealt with it."

    The Shock (19-8) have won five of six. The teams split the season series 2-2, with the home team winning all four games, and Detroit now leads Indiana by 2 1-2 games for the second seed in the East.

    "This was our biggest game of the year," Laimbeer said. "If we lose this one, they can put some real pressure on us, but we didn't lose."

    Swin Cash and Katie Smith scored 12 each for the Shock, who got 24 points from the bench.

    Tamika Catchings led Indiana (17-11) with 22 points and Tamika Whitmore added 21. Substitute Tan White had nine points, the only Fever reserve to score.

    "They did the little things and we didn't," Catchings said. "We'll see them in the playoffs. We'll be ready, and they'll be ready too."

    The teams traded the advantage throughout the first three quarters, but the Shock rallied late in the third.

    Braxton had five points in 25 seconds as Detroit finished the period with a 7-0 run to take a 59-53 advantage into the fourth quarter.

    Detroit took 17 free throws in the third period, while the Fever only had one.

    "I think the referees gave them the game in the third quarter," Whitmore said. "That was ridiculous."

    Indiana narrowed the gap to 59-57 early in the period, but Deanna Nolan answered with a 3-pointer.

    The Shock offense continued to sputter, though, and Catchings' 3-pointer put the Fever up 64-63 with 3:48 left.

    Ruth Riley's jumper put Detroit back in front, and the Fever missed two chances to go back ahead before Whitmore fouled Cash with 1:13 left.

    Cash split the free throws, and even though Detroit kept control of the ball with a pair of offensive rebounds, Riley turned over the ball with 33 seconds to go.

    Catchings missed a short jumper in traffic, and Smith made it 68-64 with a pair of free throws.

    Former Shock guard Anna Deforge's jumper made it a two-point game, but Smith put the victory away with two more free throws.

    "They've won twice here and we've won twice in Indiana," Indiana coach Brian Winters said. "These games are knockdown drag-outs. That's just how it is with these teams."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

      Indiana Tulsa
    Points 66 70
    FG Made-Attempted 25-62 (.000) 23-59 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 6-18 (.333) 4-11 (.364)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-10 (.000) 20-29 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 5-32 8-38
    Assists 16 15
    Turnovers 14 11
    Steals 6 10
    Blocks 2 3
    Fast Break Points 4 10
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 22 (0/0) 17 (0/0)