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wnba rails 9/6

Shock shock Mercury, Miller

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — No Cheryl Ford, no problem.

The Detroit Shock shook off the absence of their interior star and held off the run-and-gun Phoenix Mercury in a wild 108-100 victory in Game 1 of the WNBA finals on Wednesday night.

The defending champs struggled to get back to the finals, squeaking past New York and Indiana in the East and figured to have trouble with Phoenix, which hadn’t lost in the playoffs.

And without Ford, the All-Star game Most Valuable Player and the heart of the team, what chance did they have?

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A pretty good one as it turns out.

Plenette Pierson and Kara Braxton roared off the bench, combining for 45 points and 22 rebounds and provided the kind of intimidating inside play for which Ford is known.

Detroit outrebounded Phoenix 48-30 and scored often on putbacks and other high-percentage shots. The Shock’s bench outscored Phoenix’s 50-12.

Rochester native and starting Phoenix guard Kelly Miller scored eight points on 3-of-7 shooting.

Game 2 is Saturday night in Detroit.

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