Nolan, Zellous help Shock inch toward playoffsSep 5, 2009 - 2:54 AM AUBURN HILLS, Mich.(AP) -- It took the Detroit Shock 28 games to get back to .500.
The defending WNBA champs aren't planning to stop there.
The Shock beat the Indiana Fever 70-63 in overtime Friday night, their second win over a conference leader in four days, to improve to 15-15. Detroit hadn't had an even record since starting the season 1-1.
"This is very, very, very, very big," said Deanna Nolan, who led Detroit with 22 points. "We're back at .500 and we've still got a chance to finish second or third in the East. These are all huge games now."
With four games left, the Shock are in a five-way battle for the final three spots in the Eastern Conference - a conference they have won in each of the last three seasons.
"I think that this is great for us in a way," Nolan said. "Everyone has spent the season thinking we are down and out, but we're still alive."
Indiana (20-10) lost its third straight game and missed a chance to clinch the East's top seed.
"Everyone is tied up for third and fourth place, so every game matters right now," said Tamika Catchings, who had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana. "It's definitely important for us to get momentum going into the playoffs, but even though we've lost the last couple games, we're learning. That's a positive note."
Both teams were missing key players. Katie Smith (back) sat out her third straight game for Detroit, while Indiana's Katie Douglas (ankle) was sidelined for the second time in a row.
"We miss her 17 or 18 points, but everybody is dealing with injuries," Indiana coach Lin Dunn said. "How much does it affect a team to be missing Katie Smith?"
Indiana dominated the glass, outrebounding Detroit 50-39, including a 19-6 edge in offensive rebounds, but only shot 27.2 percent from the floor.
"You can't come into this facility and shoot 27 percent and expect to win," Dunn said. "We had the chance to, because we got on the boards. We just didn't put the ball in the hole, and one of the things Katie does is put the ball in the hole."
Indiana trailed by as many as 12 points and only took its first lead of the game on Briann January's 3-pointer with 50 seconds left.
Taj McWilliams tied it at 57 with a jumper at the other end, and Catchings shot an airball with 10 seconds to go.
"We changed the way we were defending the pick and roll, because we knew Catch was going to get the ball down the stretch," Shock coach Rick Mahorn said. "We did a great job of defending that play and forcing her into a tough shot."
That gave Detroit a chance to win the game in regulation, but a turnover forced overtime.
Nolan's jumper gave the Shock a 62-59 lead with 2:10 left in the extra period. After Ebony Hoffman's turnover, Alexis Hornbuckle made it a five-point game, and Detroit was able to hold on for the win.
"We never make it easy," Mahorn said.
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