Monarchs-Dream Preview

A grueling stretch of eight games in 16 days heading into the Olympic break hasn't been a problem for the Sacramento Monarchs.

Looking for their season-high fifth straight win Tuesday, the surging Monarchs meet the expansion Atlanta Dream for the second time in five days.

On Friday, the Monarchs (12-11) nearly squandered a 19-point lead to the Dream, but held on for a 77-73 win to move past Minnesota for sole possession of fourth place in the Western Conference. The top four teams in each conference make the playoffs.

After that victory, the Monarchs on Sunday did what no team had been able to accomplish this year. Sacramento defeated Detroit 88-85, handing the Shock their first home loss in 11 games.

"It feels good," Sacramento's Rebekkah Brunson told the Monarchs' official Web site. "We came in here ready to win, and we weren't even thinking about their record. But it feels great to be the first team to beat them here this season, and I hope we can continue to win."

Brunson, second on team with 11.4 points per game, led the Monarchs with 18 points and added seven rebounds. She had 10 points last week against Atlanta (3-21).

Sacramento has averaged 89.3 points during its winning streak, far better than its season average of 75.0.

The Monarchs also will welcome back DeMya Walker, who was re-signed Monday, two months after being released with what was thought to be a season-ending knee injury.

Walker was waived May 15, less than three weeks after breaking her kneecap while playing in Russia. She underwent surgery May 2 and was expected to miss six months, but after rehabilitating the injury, has been cleared to return to the court.

Walker averaged a team-high 14.1 points in 2005 to help the Monarchs win the WNBA title.

Following Tuesday's contest, the Monarchs will play three games in four days before the month-long Olympic break. They'll face Phoenix on Thursday and Indiana on Saturday before traveling to Seattle on Sunday.

Atlanta wrapped up a season-high six-game trip by surrendering the highest point total in its brief history in a 110-84 defeat to the Mercury.

Ivory Latta scored 18 points, Iziane Castro Marques added 17 and Kasha Terry had 16 and 11 rebounds for the Dream, who went 2-4 on their road swing. Atlanta, looking for its second straight home win, recorded the first victory in franchise history at Philips Arena on July 5, beating Chicago 91-84.

The Dream are allowing the second-most points per game in the league (85.5).

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