Sacramento 72, Los Angeles 63
Monarchs Close In on West Regular-Season Crown
LOS ANGELES, Aug. 16 (Ticker) -- Rebekkah Brunson moved the Sacramento Monarchs one step closer to homecourt advantage in the Western Conference playoffs.
Brunson scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Monarchs clinched a tie for first place in the West with a 72-63 triumph over the Los Angeles Sparks.
Brunson, who recorded her second double-double of the season, scored seven of the Monarchs' first 10 points to help build a 21-12 edge midway through the opening half.
Los Angeles responded by scoring the next 20 points in a six minute span. Doneeka Hodges made a pair of 3-pointers and Chamique Holdsclaw scored five points to help put the Sparks in front, 32-21.
Former WNBA Most Valuable Player Yolanda Griffith, who became the first player to reach 800 offensive rebounds, scored seven points in 14-3 run to give Sacramento a 37-35 halftime advantage.
After Mwadi Mabika hit a jumper to give the Sparks a 59-58 edge with 4:07 left, Sacramento finished the contest with a 14-4 burst.
DeMya Walker scored 17 points and Kara Lawson added 16 for the Monarchs, who took three of four meetings against the Sparks.
Mabika came off the bench to score 12 and Lisa Leslie added 11 for Los Angeles (13-16), who fell 1½ games behind Phoenix for the final playoff berth in the West.
Los Angeles coach Henry Bibby was not with the Sparks due to personal reasons, a situation that likely will not change. Assistant coach Joe Bryant ran the squad.
A statement from the team made no official announcement and said further comment will be issued Wednesday afternoon.
However, Sparks owner Johnny Buss, son of Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, told the media that Tuesday's coaching shuffle is how it will remain for the rest of the season.