WNBA Scores

Wednesday, Sep 6th

Final

Shock 72

(23-11, 9-8 away)

    9:00 PM ET, September 6, 2006

    1 2 3 4 T
    TUL 22 21 13 1672
    SAC 26 11 13 252

    Top Performers

    Tulsa: K. Smith 22 Pts, 4 Reb, 3 Ast

    Sacramento: N. Powell 13 Pts, 1 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    Shock crush Monarchs, force decisive Game 5

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The Arco Arena court was quiet and clean, free of any confetti or streamers. The celebratory T-shirts stayed in their boxes and the WNBA championship trophy remained hidden.

    Katie Smith
    Katie Smith's game-high 22 points helped point the Shock and the WNBA Finals back to Detroit for Game 5. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

    The crowd thought it would see the Monarchs' coronation Wednesday. Instead, the Sacramento players got tickets back to Detroit for the decisive Game 5 in the WNBA Finals.

    What a Shock.

    Katie Smith scored 22 points, Cheryl Ford had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and the Detroit Shock tied the Finals with an emphatic 72-52 victory in Game 4.

    Swin Cash and Deanna Nolan scored eight points apiece for the Shock, who made a remarkable mental turnaround after seeming disorganized and disinterested in most of the series' first three games. After taking a six-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Shock held Sacramento to two points on 1-of-12 shooting in a one-sided final period.

    "We understand that they had everything ready for a celebration, but we really wanted to get it back to Detroit," Cash said. "We came together in the last two days. When we play as a team, it's about us getting the championship."

    After another remarkable momentum shift in this unpredictable series, Saturday's finale will be played at Detroit's downtown Joe Louis Arena because the Palace in suburban Auburn Hills is hosting a Mariah Carey concert.

    While the Monarchs sat stunned at their lockers after Game 4, the Shock answered the dozens of messages left on their cell phones by excited friends and fans.

    "This is what the WNBA is all about -- competing and not giving up," said Nolan, who battled through foul trouble. "That's what we did. They came out very focused and determined to win the championship on their own court, and we took that away."

    The Monarchs intended to duplicate last season's title celebration at home, where they hadn't lost a playoff game in 11 tries since 2001. Instead, they scored 26 points in the final three quarters of a blowout loss.

    "It was like our minds weren't working tonight," said Yolanda Griffith, who had 10 points on 3-of-13 shooting. "We were thinking of other things. Everything we preach and say we're going to do, we didn't do it."

    The Shock broke Sacramento's home playoff streak with Smith's scoring and all the defensive tenacity demanded by coach Bill Laimbeer, who publicly challenged his players to hate the Monarchs before Game 4.

    Nicole Powell scored all 13 of her points in the first half for the Monarchs, who shot poorly and got outrebounded 40-26, showing none of the playoff tenacity they've displayed under coach John Whisenant. Sacramento must recover from a devastating missed opportunity and another long flight to Michigan.

    "I don't know where to start. We were awful," Whisenant said. "We talked a good game, but we obviously weren't prepared to play. ... We were celebrating before the dance. We were reading clippings of the second championship. That's very hard not to do that."

    Though Detroit seemed finished after Game 3, Laimbeer still had a couple of motivational tricks up his sleeve.

    He ripped the officiating, earning a fine from the WNBA. He criticized television commentators that his players hadn't even heard, then repeatedly emphasized the us-against-the-world mentality used by the Detroit Pistons squads the former NBA All-Star center played for while winning titles in 1989 and 1990.

    "You have to hate the other team to win a series like this," Laimbeer said. "Hating the other team is the natural instinct any time, but you have to take it to the next level in a championship series. All successful championship teams absolutely have to have it."

    Sacramento led throughout its 20-point victory in Game 3, but the Shock clearly had more focus facing elimination. Detroit went ahead on Smith's 3-pointer midway through the second quarter and led 43-37 at halftime.

    The Shock led by 11 before going scoreless for nearly five minutes in the third quarter. Sacramento got within 54-50, but the Shock responded with a 12-2 run capped by Smith's backbreaking 3-pointer with 4:40 to play.

    Neither team has played at the Detroit Red Wings' home arena, but the Shock insist they'll have the home-court advantage in an unlikely finish to the WNBA season.

    "We're going to pack that place," Laimbeer said. "We're going to have a ton of people in the upper rafters screaming, hollering, yelling for the Detroit Shock."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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    Team Stat Comparison

      Tulsa Sacramento
    Points 72 52
    FG Made-Attempted 30-69 (.000) 20-63 (.000)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-10 (.300) 5-10 (.500)
    FT Made-Attempted 9-11 (.000) 7-11 (.000)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 16-40 9-26
    Assists 13 9
    Turnovers 15 14
    Steals 6 5
    Blocks 8 6
    Fast Break Points 4 6
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 18 (0/0)