20070701/MINSAC
Monarchs Top Lynx, Maintain First Place in West

Sacramento 76, Minnesota 68

SACRAMENTO, Calif., July 1 (AP) -- Rebekkah Brunson recorded her sixth double-double of the season as Sacramento held on to first place in the Western Conference with a 76-68 win over Minnesota on Sunday.

The victory means that first-year Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek will coach the West on July 15 at the WNBA All-Star game in Washington. D.C.

Had the Monarchs lost, San Antonio would have moved into first place, and Silver Stars' coach Dan Hughes would have run the Western Conference team.

Brunson finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds for Sacramento (11-6), while Nicole Powell scored 16. Scholanda Robinson had 11 points off the bench.

Seimone Augustus, the second-leading scorer in the league, had 22 points for Minnesota (5-11). Lindsey Harding, one of the leading candidates for rookie of the year, added 17.

The win was Sacramento's 10th in a row over Minnesota. The last Minnesota victory was July 11, 2004.

For a while it looked as if the Lynx might snap the skid when they went up by five late in the first quarter.

But the tight first half changed when Augustus went down after a blow to the throat. The score was 30-30, but the Monarchs went on an 11-2 run with Augustus, who had made her last four shots after a slow start, on the bench.

Sacramento scored seven of those points at the free-throw line. The Monarchs took 16 free throws in the first half to just two for Minnesota. That helped the Monarchs go into the locker room with a 41-34 edge.

Sacramento extended the lead to 10 in the third quarter, even though Augustus had returned to the game. The Monarchs were up nine, 57-48, entering the fourth quarter, and led by 13 before hanging on down the stretch.