"Coach T's Take"
Kathy and I rolled into Auburn Hills around 4:30 PM, did our usual stop at the mall thing, and then hit the Palace around 5:15. It was "dog" day at the Palace. Literally. There were dogs everywhere inside and outside at the palace. I've heard of strange promotions before but "bring your dog to the Shock game" is about as strange as it gets. Kathy and I sat in section VIPC Row 1, Seats 1 and 2. In other words we were in the front row on the floor directly across from the Detroit Shock bench. Great seats but dang if there aren't a lot of kooks sitting in and around the court. Bizarre fans, dogs running everywhere, and to top it off the 2 Silver Star players I was looking forward to watching (Ruth Riley and Becky Hammon) were both out injured. There was a player who sat behind us and about 4 seats to our left that I recognized but I couldn't but a name to the face until I got home. It turned out to be "Tammi Reiss" former WNBA player and coach. As far as the game itself, my expectations were a Shock blowout against the underwomanned Stars but Erin Bushler turned out to be a BEAST on both ends of the floor, completely dominating play. Add to that Katie Smith going stone cold in the first half (0 points) and then missing a critical free throw with 5 seconds remaining that would have tied the game and, well, it just wasn't meant to be. The loss dropped Detroit into a tie with Indiana for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with both teams sitting at 11-4. Even with the loss Kathy and I had a great time (front row is the way to go) and 5 minutes into our Joe's Crab Shack chicken strips (a must stop on the way back to "the Zoo") the L was quickly becoming a distant memory.
Buescher Leads Silver Stars Past Shock
Posted Jul 1 2007 9:29PM
San Antonio 71, Detroit 68
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. July 1 (AP) -- Erin Buescher had a season-high 23 points and Vickie Johnson made a crucial 3-pointer Sunday in the San Antonio Silver Stars' 71-68 victory over the Detroit Shock. San Antonio never trailed after Johnson's 3 with 1:15 left in the game. She finished with 12 points as the Silver Stars snapped a two-game losing streak despite playing without starters Ruth Riley and Becky Hammon. Deanna Nolan scored 24 points and Cheryl Ford added nine points and 12 rebounds for the Shock. Detroit's Katie Smith was fouled with 5.7 seconds left and her team trailing 69-67, but she missed the second of two free throws.
The Shock led 34-33 at the half and closed the third quarter with a 9-2 run to take a 51-44 lead. San Antonio got back into the game with a 9-2 run to start the fourth quarter. Nolan got an open look at a 3-pointer in the final seconds, but the shot bounced off the rim and into the hands of Buescher, who had a career-best 16 rebounds. The Shock have lost three of their past four after beginning the season 10-1. Riley, the San Antonio center who played four seasons with the Shock and was the 2003 finals MVP, was in Detroit for the first time since being traded in the offseason, but missed the game with a sprained left foot. She received her 2007 championship ring before tipoff. Hammon, the WNBA's fourth-leading scorer at 19.1 points per game, also sat out with a foot sprain.
Riley doesn’t play in return, Silver Stars win anyway
Shock Lose Focus and Game
by Ryan Pretzer
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Ruth Riley on The Palace floor was a familiar sight Sunday evening. The way her former teammates performed on it was not. Plagued by poor marksmanship and defensive lapses, the Detroit Shock lost to the shorthanded San Antonio Silver Stars, 71-68. The Shock (11-4) have lost consecutive games for the first time this season after holding fourth-quarter leads in both contests. Friday night, it was a 16-point lead in the third quarter that turned into a one-point defeat at Washington. On Sunday, the Shock had their biggest lead of the game, 51-44, entering the fourth quarter. The Silver Stars – who were without two starters – outscored Detroit, 27-17, the final 10 minutes.
The worst performance we have seen when I thought we would play okay,” lamented Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer. “Before the game started, I knew we were in trouble. But coming into today, I was very hopeful. But it was clear our minds were elsewhere. Katie Smith missed the second of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left that would have tied the game at 69. The Shock guard had been so clutch in games prior she was the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week. But Smith’s misfires – she was 0-for-8 from the field and 6-of-10 from the foul line – sum up the team’s recent struggles. The Shock made only seven of 13 free throws in the fourth quarter and shot only 57.9 percent (22-of-38) from there in the game. The whole game was disappointing, you look at the entire stat line, you’re going to see across the board all the areas where it’s a matter of focus and a matter of energy and a matter of desire that we didn’t have today,” Shock head coach Bill Laimbeer said. “And that’s something we have to find as a basketball team.”
San Antonio’s victory was hardly a case of “Ruth’s Revenge,” however. Riley, who spent four years in Detroit and was the 2003 WNBA Finals MVP in the Shock’s first championship season, was an unexpected scratch from Sunday’s contest due to a sprained left foot. But that didn’t stop her from walking to center court to receive her 2006 championship ring in a pregame presentation with her former teammates. It was the first game she missed this season. "It was a little strange coming back,” said Riley, who was traded over the winter for center Katie Feenstra. “It was a differnt uniform, different team sitting on the other bench, but I have a lot of good memories from here and so it was fun to come and see some familiar faces." San Antonio was also without their leading scorer, Becky Hammon, who averages 19.1 points per game. San Antonio struggled without her, missing 24 of 34 field-goal attempts in the first half. For the game, San Antonio actually shot worse than the Shock, 34.3 percent to 37.3 percent. All the missed shots left plenty of work for Cheryl Ford, who returned to the court for the first time since June 20. Ford had eight rebounds, seven defensive, in the first half. Her offensive rebound produced a three-point play that gave Detroit its largest lead of the first half, 31-25. She finished with nine points and 12 rebounds.
Deanna Nolan was the only Shock player in double figures with 24 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field. She missed a potential game-tying triple in the waning seconds. “Right now I don’t think that we’re mentally here, I don’t know where we’re at,” Nolan said. “We have to come together collectively for 40 minutes and have that mentality and focus to just play hard for 40 minutes. After looking unbeatable at times throughout June, Laimbeer has opened July by challenging his players to re-examine how they’re handling defense of their 2006 championship. “I think each individual, and our team has to look at themselves and to find if they’re determined enough to come out and play as hard as they have to and together as they have to, to win basketball games,” he said. The Shock averaged 79.2 points during their 10-1 start, but are averaging eight points fewer, 71.0, in their last four, going 1-3. The Shock have not reached 20 points in any of their last six quarters.
Riley was well received by Shock fans at The Palace. A few of them made welcome-back signs. "They were so cute,” Riley said of the homecoming. “I played here for four years and the fans were great. A lot of support, a lot of people said they miss me and said welcome back. It was just a great reception."
Amy Sanders was not at The Palace for Sunday’s game, and Laimbeer said that she would be released Monday morning. The rookie from Hawaii saw action in four games for eight minutes.