Wednesday, August 26, 2009 1:24 AM
The Detroit Shock moved a step closer to a playoff spot with another victory over the Connecticut Sun.
Katie Smith scored 19 points and the Shock beat the Sun 90-70 on Tuesday night. Detroit has won six of its last nine games in Connecticut.
"We have a nice rivalry with Connecticut," Smith said. "We always battle against them." Detroit (12-14) entered the contest one game out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Shock have won three straight.
"We're not in a position where we can give any games away," Detroit forward Taj McWilliams said. "This was a very important win for our playoff hopes." Deanna Nolan added 17 points and four assists for the defending WNBA champions, who shot 55 percent from the field (33-for-60) and 80 percent from 3-point range (8-for-10).
Sandrine Gruda led the Sun (14-13) with 19 points.
The Shock led 55-51 with 4:51 left in the third period before a 19-4 run to end the quarter gave them a 74-55 lead.
"People make runs," Smith said. "Connecticut shot the lights out to begin the second half. It was good to see that we put another run together." Cheryl Ford and Shevonte Zellous had 12 points apiece for Detroit.
Lindsay Whalen had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Sun, who fell a game behind Atlanta and into third place in the Eastern Conference. Connecticut will play its next four games on the West Coast beginning Thursday at Seattle.
"They beat us in just about every phase of the game," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "We didn't do a great job stopping them. I'm disturbed by giving up 90 points.