Shock avoid upset by Liberty, advance to East finalAug 29, 2007 - 3:19 AM AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Ticker) -- They had to sweat it out, but the Detroit Shock inched one step closer to adding more hardware to their collection.
Swin Cash scored the go-ahead basket with eight seconds left as the defending champion Shock eliminated the New York Liberty, 71-70, in an overtime thriller Tuesday, advancing to the Eastern Conference finals.
Deanna Nolan scored 22 points and Cheryl Ford added 17 and 10 rebounds for Detroit, which will take on the second-seeded Indiana Fever for the chance to go to the WNBA Finals. The series opens Friday in Indiana.
"We're very relieved - this was tough, but we're still playing," said Nolan, who had six assists and three steals.
"We did what we were supposed to do," Ford said. "We won at home and we advanced. That's the only thing that matters. There's no secrets between us and Indiana. It's going to be a defensive series and it is going to come down to who wants it more."
Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer was impressed with Ford, who is still recovering from an injured knee suffered on July 26.
"The biggest heart of the day, if you knew what (Ford) was going through," Laimbeer said. "There was no way in my wildest dreams that I thought I could play her 39 minutes, but that young woman has an enormous heart. What she did was phenomenal."
In the extra session, Detroit trailed, 69-64, until Katie Smith drained a 3-pointer and Nolan followed with a pull-up jumper to tie the game.
After Detroit forced New York into a 24-second shot-clock violation, Plenette Pierson found Cash on the baseline for an easy layup with eight seconds to go that made it 71-69.
The Liberty had a chance to tie as Most Improved Player Award winner Janel McCarville was fouled with three seconds left by Pierson, who picked up the Sixth Woman of the Year Award.
"Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and hope you can overcome things like that," Ford said.
But McCarville misfired on the second of two free throws, with the Liberty last touching the ball before it went out of bounds.
"This game didn't come down to one free throw - this isn't on Janel's shoulders," New York's Catherine Kraayeveld said. "We had a lot of chances to win Game Two and to win this game, and that free throw isn't the reason we lost."
Overtime was nothing new for Detroit and New York, as the clubs were involved in two overtime contests during the regular season.
Detroit trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half before storming back behind an aggressive 17-6 surge that was capped by Nolan's breakaway layup and Smith's 3-pointer with 6:48 left to take a 60-55 lead.
But the Liberty refused to give in as Kraayeveld's layup tied the game at 60-60 with 53 seconds remaining. After the teams traded baskets, Nolan missed a potential game-winning shot with one second to go in regulation.
Tied at 12-12 after the first quarter, New York created some distance in the second, using a 9-2 surge to close out the period and take a 33-23 advantage into the locker room.
Kraayeveld scored 16 points and Tiffany Jackson chipped in 14 and 10 boards off the bench for New York, which shot 40 percent (27-of-67) from the field and forced 15 turnovers.
"We're proud, because we know there's nothing more we could have asked ourselves to do," Kraayeveld said.
NEW YORK 70
DETROIT 71 FINAL IN 1ST OT
Aug 28 9:23 PM
NEW YORK 62
DETROIT 62 END OF 4TH QTR GOING INTO OVERTIME
Aug 28 9:03 PM
NEW YORK 49
DETROIT 43 END, 3RD QTR
Aug 28 8:27 PM
NEW YORK 33
DETROIT 23 HALFTIME
Aug 28 7:46 PM
NEW YORK 12
DETROIT 12 END, 1ST QTR
Aug 28 7:22 PM
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