Sacramento 81, Los Angeles 63
Monarchs Sweep Away Sparks
SACRAMENTO, Calif., Sept. 2 (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Sparks' second-half charge again fell short.
Ticha Penicheiro and Yolanda Griffith scored 13 points apiece as the Sacramento Monarchs held off the Sparks for an 81-63 win and a 2-0 sweep of their Western Conference semifinal series.
"We've still got another hurdle or two," said Monarchs coach John Whisenant. "We want to win a championship."
The Monarchs, who have bounced the Sparks from the playoffs the past two seasons, withstood Los Angeles' rally for a 75-72 win in Game 1 on Wednesday. They took a 43-29 lead into the locker room in this one before the Sparks threatened again.
Chamique Holdsclaw's layup pulled Los Angeles within 48-47 with 13:14 to go, and her club trailed, 56-54, at the midway mark of the second half before Sacramento pulled away.
Kara Lawson, who scored 11 points, kicked off a 16-0 Monarchs run with a 3-pointer. Nicole Powell capped the surge with a pair of free throws to make it 72-54 with six minutes left.
Penicheiro scored five points during the surge.
"When I looked at the scoreboard and we were only up two, I made a conscious effort to be more aggressive," she said."
"Penicheiro is special," said Sparks coach Joe Bryant. "Any time you have a point guard who can pass off the dribble, it's special. She really makes that team go."
Lawson's 3-pointer was one of five by Sacramento, and Penicheiro saw it as the catalyst.
"The 3-pointer was huge," Penicheiro said. "That really gave us a break, gave us our confidence back."
Los Angeles never got closer than 13 points thereafter and fell to Sacramento for the fourth straight time overall.
The Monarchs limited the Sparks' star duo of Holdsclaw and Lisa Leslie to 13 points on 4-of-17 shooting (24 percent). Tamika Whitmore scored 15 points for Los Angeles.