PHOENIX 77, DETROIT 76
If you wanted exciting playoff basketball, you got it. Detroit lashed out after a languid first quarter to go ahead strong for much of the game, but unlike Game 3, the Mercs managed to come through in the clutch and punched through the ceiling to even-up the series at 2-apiece, with a single game left to go in Detroit.
That is going to be a tall order for Phoenix, but not impossible. Detroit played like Titans of old at home during the regular season, going 12-5 (two of which were within 3 points), and have lost only once at home during the playoffs... to the Mercs. Phoenix isn't shabby on the road, either, going 11-6, but only losing 1 game in the regular season on the road after June 22nd. Their only loss on the road in the playoffs? To Detroit, of course.
If Phoenix and Detroit play like they did in Game 4, it will be a heart-stopping finish to the season. Pondexter played solidly, particularly in the 4th, going for a total of 8 points in those ten minutes (with two clutch rebounds) to bring her point total to a game-high 26 points. Also solid? Plenette Pierson, with 23 points, but still prone to making stupid fouls.
Was there something lacking for both teams in the game? Definitely. Phoenix only got great games out of three of their starters, while Smith and Taylor both had off-nights. Detroit played well, spreading the ball around, but MUST pick up loose balls and open rebounds; three times last night the Shock allowed the Mercs to essentially control the ball for minutes at a time, and by the law of averages, the Mercs are going to have to start hitting those shots SOMETIME.
Both teams cut down on their fouls, however, and made it clear that they weren't going to go easily. Detroit shot 50% from beyond the arc and nearly that much from the field (48.3%). Phoenix didn't have nearly as impressive a shooting game, but they kept throwing it until their shots FINALLY started hitting.
It's going to be some good basketball. Stay tuned...
- Sloppy play in the first half by Phoenix. The Mercs shot less than 30% from the field in the first twenty. For shaaaaaame...
- Ford. Word on the street is that she might be out for the last game. If so, then that make's Phoenix's job a HELL of a lot easier.
- ...that's about all I got, really.
The Palace of Auburn Hills
430 ET, ESPN2
Two teams enter, one team leaves... then a little while later, the other team leaves.
The WNBA will NOT take action following the Pierson-Taylor scuffle of Game Three. Surprised? You shouldn't be.
Attendance problems plague the Finals. I was able to find 10 dollar tickets within a dozen rows of the floor. Ugh.
Attendance increased across the league this year, up to 7,739 from 7,476, an increase of 3.5%. Not exactly earth-shattering, but still, the first increase in years. (Source: Women's Basketball Online. The numbers aren't crunched correctly, but if you put them in yourself, you can see the change.)
Liberty news? Nada. Sorry, but it's the off-season. Until Monday, then?
See ya, Space Cowboy...