20080612/SACMIN
Monarchs Upend Lynx

Sacramento 82, Minnesota 78 (F)

MINNEAPOLIS, June 12 (AP) -- Despite playing their second road game in as many nights, the Sacramento Monarchs didn't look tired against the Minnesota Lynx.

Nicole Powell and Crystal Kelly each scored 18 points to lead the Monarchs to an 82-78 win over the Lynx on Thursday night.

The Monarchs (5-4) built a big lead, then held off a rally by the Lynx.

The Monarchs won 79-76 at Washington on Wednesday night.

"Crystal and all of our rookies are doing a really great job for us and Crystal in particular has some instinctual gifts that you can't teach,'' Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said. "An ability to score and create contact in there and she gives us a really strong low post presence coming off of the bench.''

Minnesota, which has lost three of four after a franchise-best 5-0 start, fell to 6-3 despite 21 points by Seimone Augustus.

The Lynx are 1-12 in their past 13 games against Sacramento and have not beaten the Monarchs at home since 2004.

Sacramento trailed by 10 after 5 minutes, before closing the first half on a 43-18 run to lead by 15 at the break. The Lynx struggled with poor shooting and 13 first-half turnovers.

"They let the game get away from themselves in the second quarter,'' Lynx coach Don Zierden said. "This is a work in progress with this young team. They came out and got a couple wins early and people got excited. That's great. But as a coaching staff we understand our weaknesses.''

Minnesota rallied in the second half, led by rookie Candice Wiggins, who had nine of her 17 points in the third quarter. The Lynx trailed 69-68 with 6:22 to play, but would get no closer.

"Mentally, we have to be tougher,'' Augustus said. "This is a young team, and we are going to go through growing pains.''

The Monarchs hit four consecutive free throws and held off another Minnesota rally in the final 2 minutes to finish their road trip with a 3-0 mark. Ticha Penicheiro hit five free throws in the final 15.1 seconds for the Monarchs.

"We just stuck together the whole time. We never lost our composure,'' Kelly said. "Our first road trip was the exact opposite. We went 0-3. So to turn it around and see how well we're playing off of one another, we're coming a long way.''

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