2004 Record
18-16, .529
(3rd in West)

Points Scored
2312 (6th overall, 3rd in West)
Points Allowed
2241 (5th overall, 4th in West)
Scoring Differential
+ 2.1 (3rd overall, 3rd in West)

Award Winners & Honorees
Yolanda Griffith
Yolanda Griffith, Second Team

2004 Draft Recap
Rd. 1 - 10, Rebekkah Brunson
Rd. 3 - 36, Nuria Martinez

Playoff History
Five times in eight years
Last Appearance
2004, lost in Western Conference Finals

2004 In Review:
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.

Veteran center Yolanda Griffith, 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.

What Went Wrong?

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.

His 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.

Head Coach
John Whisenant
2004 Starting Lineup
G- Ticha Penicheiro
G- Edna Campbell
F- DeMya Walker
F- Tangela Smith
C- Yolanda Griffith
Key 2004 Reserves
Kara Lawson
Rebekkah Brunson
Hamchetou Maiga
Key Additions
Nicole Powell
Olympia Scott-Richardson
Miao Li jie
Sui Feifei
Key Losses
Edna Campbell
Tangela Smith

Looking Ahead To 2005:
Key Questions

The 2005 Monarchs will look quite different than the 2004 team. Edna Campbell signed a deal with San Antonio. Nicole Powell, Olympia Scott-Richardson 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.