Posted at 12:53 p.m., Saturday, May 19, 2007
Defending WNBA champ Detroit opens with victory
Associated PressAUBURN HILLS, Mich. Plenette Pierson scored 14 points in 14 minutes of the first half as the defending WNBA champion Detroit Shock picked up where they left off with a season-opening 75-68 win over the Sacramento Monarchs today.
Pierson finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals after a pregame ring ceremony and banner-raising before 13,689 at The Palace.
Deanna Nolan, last year's finals MVP, and backcourt partner Katie Smith each had 12 points and forwards Swin Cash and Cheryl Ford added 10 apiece to help celebrate Coach Bill Laimbeer's 50th birthday.
Chelsea Newton and Kara Lawson each had 14 points for the Monarchs, who lost to the Shock in five games in last year's finals. Sacramento cut an 18-point deficit to seven and trailed 42-35 at the half. The Monarchs also trimmed a 13-point lead to four in the final two minutes.
But with Pistons guard Chauncey Billups and his family watching from courtside seats, the Shock showed why they won their second WNBA title last season and are favored by many to become the first repeat champion since the Los Angeles Sparks in 2001-02.
Detroit had a 36-22 edge in rebounds and went 17-for-18 at the foul line, including six in a row in the final minute, to seal the win.
Detroit's Amy Sanders, who became the second University of Hawai'i player to make a WNBA roster, did not play.