By Dan Savage

June 11, 2008: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Today in the WNBA Archive

Rookie Tasha Humphrey had her hands full all night with Lisa Leslie, who tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds on Wednesday to power the Sparks past the Shock.
Noah Graham/NBAE/Getty Images
Storm Finally Able to Solve Mercury Mystery

New additions make big difference: The Storm came in to their matchup with the Mercury with a chip on their shoulder. After watching Lauren Jackson struggle against Phoenix's box-and-one defense and getting swept out of the first round of the WNBA playoffs, Seattle’s front office took a very aggressive approach to the offseason. In order to prevent the Mercury from shutting down their MVP in the future, the Storm signed former MVP Sheryl Swoopes and former Finals MVP Yolanda Griffith and traded for two-time WNBA champion Swin Cash, constructing a roster that would no longer be so one-dimensional. Their blueprint was a success on Wednesday as Jackson notched 20 points and 14 rebounds to lift Seattle over Phoenix. The new additions all scored in double figures, with Swoopes and Cash each posting 17 and Griffith adding 11 to offset a 37-point performance from Diana Taurasi.

New look, but same results for Monarchs: When the Monarchs lost franchise staple Yolanda Griffith to free agency, it became clear that a number of players were going to have to step up in order to ensure another postseason run in 2008. By finally inserting Kara Lawson into the starting lineup, after five seasons of coming off the bench; giving veteran center Adrian Williams-Strong a starting role, and drafting Maryland star Laura Harper to add size to their lineup; it’s clear that Sacramento had a viable plan to make up for the void left by the WNBA legend. And it’s showing. The Monarchs brought their record back to .500 and moved into fourth place in the West on Wednesday, by holding off a late rally from the Mystics. Long-time anchor Nicole Powell fired off a career-high 28 points, Lawson and Harper combined for 28 and Williams-Strong brought down five boards.
"They were making it pretty tough out there. So we have to do a better job, as that second quarter was the ugliest basketball that I've ever seen. We couldn't do anything out there.'' -- Indiana guard Katie Douglas, after the Silver Stars' defense held her Fever to eight points in the second quarter. San Antonio prevailed, 64-53, on Wednesday night.

Nicole Powell, Monarchs
28 pts, 12-19 FG, 4-5 3-pt FG
79-76 win at Mystics

Janel McCarville, Liberty
25 pts, 11-14 FG
81-77 win at Dream

Diana Taurasi, Mercury
37 pts, 13-20 FG, 7-12 3-pt FG, 4-4 FT
83-77 loss vs. Storm

Coco Miller, Mystics
0-8 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG, 1 pt
79-76 loss vs. Monarchs

Sue Bird, Storm
1-12 FG, 0-7 3-pt FG, 4 pts
83-77 win vs. Mercury

Kelly Mazzante, Mercury
1-7 FG, 1-7 3-pt FG, 3 pts
83-77 loss at Storm

Thursday's Games ...

  • Monarchs at Lynx, 8 p.m. ET
  • DeForge

    Anytime a rookie star plays against the Shock, it’s usually a good barometer for how well they’re progressing during their inaugural season. They prevent second-chance points, rebound the ball extremely well, play stout defense and have the ability to limit points in the paint. So following Candace Parker’s debut against Detroit, what’s the verdict? The kid’s got talent. Although she battled foul trouble throughout the contest, Parker still managed to accumulate 10 points, five rebounds and five assists as the Sparks earned their first home win of the season against the Shock. She also moved the ball extremely well, committing no turnovers. She got help from teammate Kiesha Brown, who scored 12 points in the first start of her seven-year career.
    Janel McCarville had a tough start to WNBA career. After being the No. 1 overall pick by the Charlotte Sting, injuries and adjustments to the professional game prevented her from living up to expectations. But McCarville finally found her groove last season and after being named the WNBA’s Most Improved Player, she is showing no signs of slowing down. With her Liberty trailing by 12 points midway through the fourth quarter, McCarville fired off seven points in the final frame to help them overcome the deficit and prevent the Dream from earning their first win in franchise history. The former Wisconsin High School Player of the Year finished with 25 points, seven assists, two steals and two blocks, helping New York grab its first road victory of the season.