(2nd in West)
Winners & Honorees
2006 Draft Recap
Dispersal Draft Results
Defense was the key to Sacramento's success throughout the season. The Monarchs poisoned the competition becoming the only team in the league to hold its opponents to under 30 rebounds per game. They led the West allowing only 70.7 points per game and finished second overall in steals with 9.71 per game.
Yolanda Griffith was the Monarchs' top all-around player, leading the squad in points per game (12.0), rebounds per game (6.44) and blocks per game (0.47) throughout the season. The eight-year veteran was also rewarded for her defensive play, being named to the All-Defensive Second Team. She was selected to start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game and was also named to both the WNBA's All-Decade Team as well as the Monarchs' All-Decade Team.
When the Monarchs did struggle, it was on the offensive end. Ball distribution was a key issue, as the team was in the bottom third in assists. They also had more shots blocked per game than any other team in the league (4.21).While there were no other glaring deficiencies, they simply lacked the offensive firepower and depth of a typical team trying to defend its title.
Yolanda Griffith remained a dominant force, but there were stretches last season when it became clear that her best days may be behind her. Despite being the only Monarchs player to average more than 10 ppg, she had the least productive year of her career, at least statistically: Her averages in ppg, rpg, bpg, field goal percentage and minutes per game were all career lows.
After the season, Coach John Whisenant stepped down, opting instead to focus on his general manager duties. Whisenant brought the Monarchs their only title and is responsible for much of the talent on the roster. He also built a system that fit the players he brought in (or vice versa).
The search for a coach netted Jenny Boucek, a former assistant in Seattle. But will she keep Whisenant's system in place? How committed is she to the White Line? What happens when the going gets tough?
2006 Starting Lineup
-G- Ticha Penicheiro
-G- Kara Lawson
-F- Nicole Powell
-F- DeMya Walker
-C- Yolanda Griffith
Key 2006 Reserves
The Monarchs should have veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro back and also re-signed center Brittany Wilkins, who is coming off her rookie season and will provide some depth down low. But a big move in bolstering backcourt depth was the re-acquisition of defensive specialist Chelsea Newton. Newton helped the Monarchs win the title in 2005, but was lost to the Sky in the Expansion Draft prior to 2006. The Monarchs gave the Sky their first round pick (#10 pick) for Newtown and the 21st pick in the Draft.
The Monarchs did lose Sixth Woman Erin Buescher to San Antonio and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba, so must look to adding bodies to the bench. The team gave up its second-round draft pick this year to acquire center Adrian Williams from the Minnesota Lynx. She is six-year veteran an a former All-Star player whom the Monarchs feel will fit in well in Sacramento. "This is a great move for the team as the Monarchs continue to evolve," said coach Jenny Boucek after the trade.
Also adding depth to the squad will be sophomore LaToya Bond, who the Monarchs picked up in the Dispersal Draft. She is an athletic, aggressive point guard capable of stepping in and eating up valuable minutes.
The Monarchs have looked to Yolanda Griffith to lead the team over the past eight years, but the team must also consider its future. Adding depth to the roster and talent around Griffith is crucial for the Monarchs this offseason if they can legitimately hope to stay near the top in the West. If Sacramento can continue to incorporate more players into its offensive plans and stay solid defensively, a third straight appearance in the Finals could be within reach.