Postgame Notes: June 17, 2004

Monarchs 60, Lynx 50
Target Center

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Sacramento snapped its three-game losing streak with tonight's victory, winning for just the second time in eight games to improve to 3-6 on the season and climb past idle San Antonio into sixth place in the Western Conference. It's the Monarchs' first road win since beating Phoenix 72-66 on Opening Night (May 20), and their first at Target Center since posting a 91-52 triumph on July 3, 2001. Sacramento returns to ARCO Arena on Saturday, when they kick off a four-game homestand by hosting Detroit.

The Lynx fall to 4-5 on the season and fifth place in the West. Coupled with last Friday's 69-55 defeat at Los Angeles, they've now dropped back-to-back games for the first time in 2004. Minnesota had beaten Sacramento four straight times at home, and six of the prior eight meetings overall. They're now 3-2 at Target Center, and complete their brief two-game homestand by entertaining Houston on Saturday night.

Sacramento reversed the tables by outscoring Minnesota 14-3 over the game's final 3:30, after the Lynx had taken a brief 47-46 on a Katie Smith 3-pointer. Kara Lawson scored eight points during the game-closing run, and Ticha Penicheiro sank a key 3-pointer with :58.0 remaining to stretch the Monarchs' lead to five. In the clubs' first meeting this year (May 22 at ARCO Arena), the Lynx rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to hand Sacramento a 69-61 setback in its sold-out home opener.

The Monarchs limited Minnesota to 50 points, their best defensive outing of the year (surpassing a 68-51 victory over Los Angeles on June 3). Sacramento entered the game having allowed 70.3 ppg during its three-game losing streak. The Lynx have now scored 55 points or fewer four times this season, including three of their last four outings; they're averaging just 59.0 ppg over those four.

Sacramento enjoyed a 32-24 rebounding advantage, the sixth time they've held the edge in nine games to date. Meanwhile, Minnesota falls to 0-4 when being outrebounded. Yolanda Griffith grabbed a game-high eight boards (the seventh time she's topped the Monarchs) to go along with a team-best 13 points. She's now just 16 points shy of becoming the 11th player in WNBA history to reach the 2,500-point mark for her career, and 11 boards short of joining Lisa Leslie and Tina Thompson in the 1,500-rebound club.

Minnesota committed a season-high 25 turnovers, helping Sacramento roll up a 25-12 advantage in points off TOs. It's the fourth game this year in which the Lynx have had at least 23 miscues; they rank last in the WNBA in turnovers at 18.6 per game, after averaging 16.4 a night last year. Yolanda Griffith and Tangela Smith each swiped five steals for the Monarchs; Smith's total represents a career high.

Sacramento racked up a 27-7 edge in bench scoring, paced by a career-high-tying 12 points from Tanty Maiga and a season-high 11 from Kara Lawson. It's the sixth time this year the Monarchs have received 20+ points from their non-starters. On the flipside, Minnesota has gotten 20+ points from the bench on only two occasions, and has been outscored off the bench in seven of its nine outings.

Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro finished with a season-high 10 points and a game-high seven assists. Her assist on a Lady Grooms layup with 12:43 left in the first half pushed her past Teresa Weatherspoon (1316) into first place on the WNBA's career assist chart. Penicheiro, who also ranks as the league's all-time leader in assists per game (7.3), has now handed out 1322 assists in seven seasons with Sacramento.