Smith, Shock take 2-0 lead in WNBA FinalsOct 4, 2008 - 5:01 AM SAN ANTONIO (Ticker) -- It will be a happy trip back to Ypsilanti, Michigan for Katie Smith and the Detroit Shock.
Smith had 22 points and six assists as the Shock took a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five WNBA Finals with a 69-61 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Friday.
Deanna Nolan and Kara Braxton scored 12 points apiece for Detroit, which became the first team to win both Games One and Two on the road since the league expanded the Finals to its current best-of-five format in 2005.
Game Three is on Sunday in Ypsilanti, where Smith and her teammates look forward to finishing the job.
"We're excited about going home," said Smith, who shot 9-of-16 from the field, including 2-of-4 from the arc. "We're excited about getting on the floor. If we could play tomorrow, I'd be happy. We're excited about an opportunity that we have. We have an opportunity but we have not done anything yet."
The Shock's conquests away from home will give them a chance to claim their third championship on their home floor, albeit in unfamiliar territory.
With "Disney on Ice" currently residing at the Palace of Auburn Hills and the Detroit Red Wings using nearby Joe Louis Arena, the Shock have been relegated to playing at the Convocation Center, the home of Eastern Michigan University - approximately 40 miles outside the Motor City.
The Shock, who won WNBA titles in 2003 and 2006, advanced to the Finals last season, only to suffer a painful five-game loss to the Phoenix Mercury. Detroit coach Bill Laimbeer said his team is intent on not seeing history repeat itself.
"You will hear the players say the same thing. We play a one-game series," said Laimbeer, who is familiar with postseason success from his days with the champion Detroit Pistons.
"Last year was so brutally frustrating and discouraging how we lost that series. We play a one-game series. That's all that matters. We live and die that one game, because anything can happen in the next game."
Detroit left little doubt in Game Two, taking a 25-12 lead into the second quarter. It was a complete performance by the Shock, who shot 51 percent (28-of-55) from the field and outrebounded the Silver Stars, 35-28.
"We knew that, if we could get off to a good start, we could neutralize any emotion, any crowd interaction, and then just play a basketball game from there on out," Laimbeer said.
Becky Hammon scored 24 points for San Antonio, which has put forth a disappointing performance in its first trip to the championship series. The Silver Stars had the best season in franchise history, which included a league-best 24-10 regular-season record and a 14-0 mark against Eastern Conference opponents.
Hammon, for her part, said that San Antonio - which shot 33 percent (21-of-64) from the field - can certainly shoot the ball better than it has shown.
"Right now, we have to go into Game Three - and I'm somebody who (is big) on mental preparation a lot as well - and we've got to just start seeing that ball go in," said Hammon, who along with teammate Sophia Young finished in the top six of the Most Valuable Player voting behind Los Angeles Sparks forward Candace Parker.
"We have some capable shooters, and we just - two nights in a row - just haven't shot the ball well."
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