(3rd in West)
(6th overall, 3rd in West)
2241 (5th overall, 4th
+ 2.1 (3rd overall, 3rd in West)
Winners & Honorees
Griffith, Second Team
2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 - 10, Rebekkah Brunson
3 - 36, Nuria Martinez
Five times in eight years
2004, lost in Western Conference Finals
What Went Right?
The Monarchs were a week away
from a disappointing 2004, but wins in their final three contests propelled them
over .500 (18-16) and into the playoffs against rival Los Angeles. After being
ousted by the Sparks in 2001 and 2003, Sacramento set an early tone with a 72-52
win in the series opener, and finished off the Sparks on their home floor in the
final game, 73-58.
, who held
league MVP Lisa Leslie to 11.3 ppg over the three games against L.A., finished
in the WNBA's top ten in scoring (14.5), rebounds (7.2) and blocks (1.21) and
led the league in steals (2.21 pg). The All-WNBA Second Team selection also boasted
the league's second-best FG percentage (51.9%).
Defensive stalwart DeMya
Walker (11.8 ppg, 1.33 bpg in the postseason) and guard Kara
Lawson (9.7 ppg, 41.7 % from 3-point range in the postseason) both stepped
up in the playoffs, evidence that an infusion of young talent is possible on one
of the league's oldest teams.
For the third time in four years, Sacramento's season
ended one game short of the WNBA Finals, when the Monarchs dropped a decisive
Game Three to eventual champion Seattle. The Monarchs couldn't contain Lauren
Jackson, who averaged 27.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg. During the Seattle series, G.M./Coach
John Whisenant endured a health scare when he suffered bleeding in his lung.
health now restored, Whisenant has spent the offseason working on an aging roster
(average age: 28.6) that included seven free agents. Five Monarchs had played
together for six or more years, but that core has been altered by the pregnancy
of lockerroom leader Lady Grooms
and the trade of forward Tangela
Smith to Charlotte. Ruthie
Bolton is a free agent, leaving Griffith, 35, and Ticha
Penicheiro, 30, as the faces of the franchise. How long can Griffith, Whisenant's
"Energizer Bunny," keep going (and going, and going)? The former MVP was second
to Leslie in the WNBA's efficiency rating in 2004, but the team is wise to surround
her with young talent.
The Monarchs shot 35.3% from 3-point range, a number
that could improve with players better suited to play the small forward position.
Last year, according to Whisenant, the team didn't convert a single trey from
the '3' spot.
G- Ticha Penicheiro
G- Edna Campbell
F- DeMya Walker
C- Yolanda Griffith
Key 2004 Reserves
Miao Li jie
Ahead To 2005:
The 2005 Monarchs will look quite different than the 2004 team. Edna
signed a deal with San Antonio. Nicole
and Erin Buescher were acquired in the trade that sent Smith
to Charlotte. The key to the trade was Powell, the third overall pick in last
year's draft. Will she blossom quickly enough to offset the loss of Smith, the
team's leading scorer in the playoffs a year ago?
In search of young talent
to help keep the team competitive under the restrictive salary cap, the Monarchs
spanned the globe and tabbed two prospects from China and two more from Australia.
Forward Sui Feifei and guard Miao Lijie are the top two scorers from the Chinese
National Team. Assistant coach Monique Ambers has played professionally in China,
and believes both are talented enough to play in the WNBA, Whisenant says. Aussie
import Hollie Grima, 21, a 6-2 center, averaged 16.3 ppg, 8.6 rpg and 1.7 bpg
in the WNBL. Carly Wilson, 22, a 6-0 guard, averaged 11.8 ppg during the 2004-05
season. Stability has been a hallmark of the Monarchs for years. How quickly will
they jell with so many new faces on the roster?
Schedule makers did the
Monarchs no favors, sending them on a four-game road trip to begin the season
before the home debut vs. Los Angeles on June 4. With so many of their best players
overseas, the Monarchs won't have a lot of practice time before the grueling test
begins. Last year, they had to overcome a 3-7 start, despite a more favorable
schedule. Can they avoid a similar fate this season?
The Monarchs own the
ninth pick in the WNBA Draft. Can they find a player who can contribute at least
as much as Rebekkah Brunson did a year ago? Can their selection of two years ago,
Chantelle Anderson, live up to the promise that made her the second overall pick
in 2003? Anderson, Brunson, Lawson, and Powell are all 24 or younger, giving the
team a young foundation to surround the All-Star twosome of Griffith and Penicheiro.
How many stars emerge from that group, and how quickly, will go a long way toward
determining how successful the Monarchs will be in 2005 and beyond.