By Chris Bernucca

Sept. 7, 2008: Scoreboard | Video Play of the Day | Today in the WNBA Archive

It's Breast Health Awareness Week, so the WNBA would like everyone to "think pink." However, Connecticut coach Mike Thibault - despite wearing a pink tie - is seeing red as he vehemently protests a call in the Sun's nationally televised home loss to San Antonio that could impact home-court advantage in the WNBA Finals. David Dow/NBAE/Getty
Sifting Through the MVP Candidates

Hammon's campaign gets a nationally televised boost: There's an extremely important vote looming that requires your participation. No, silly, not that one. We're talking about the WNBA MVP, and you don't have to be 18 years old to cast your ballot. But before you do, please evaluate the credentials of all of the candidates. We have paid close attention to the campaign and have not been swayed by the media darling newcomer or those who are more style than substance. We have not been influenced by candidates making big early splashes or late-season surges. We have seen nothing over the last four months compelling enough to change our mind. In fact, what we saw Sunday on national TV only strengthened our belief in Becky Hammon. As the point guard of the San Antonio Silver Stars, she is the driving force of the WNBA's best team, making her teammates better with ball distribution while taking it to the defense when necessary. She's got our vote.

Playoff picture practically complete: Just one slot for the WNBA playoffs remains up for grabs, and the Sacramento Monarchs have the inside track. The Monarchs inched closer to their sixth consecutive postseason berth - the league's longest current streak - with Sunday's sloppy home win over Minnesota. Sacramento won despite committing 27 turnovers and never could put away Minnesota, which was eliminated from the playoff chase. Despite having no players in the top 25 in scoring, the Monarchs (17-14) are two games ahead of Phoenix (15-16) and three ahead of Houston (14-17) with three to play. They need just one win - or a loss by each of their pursuers - to join the postseason party. Sacramento's first chance to clinch comes Tuesday in its home finale against Seattle - its likely first-round opponent. After that comes a treacherous Texas two-step, creating a sense of urgency that is not lost on Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek. "Seattle is an amazing team," the Coach of the Year candidate said. "They are playing really well on the road so itís going to be a tough challenge. We are going to do everything we can to fight and scratch and claw to try to get our defense going and see what happens."
"This is the end of the longest road trip in the history of life. It was fun to play here but it all flashed by really quick."

-- Lynx rookie guard Candice Wiggins, a Stanford alum who returned to northern California as a pro for the first time Sunday. Wiggins scored 13 points on just 6-of-18 shooting in Minnesota's loss at Sacramento.

Nicole Powell, Monarchs
22 pts, 9-14 FG, 4-6 3-pt FG
78-71 win vs. Lynx

Lecoe Willingham, Mercury
16 pts, 7-10 FG
99-74 win vs. Comets

Mistie Williams, Comets
17 pts, 8-12 FG
99-74 loss at Mercury

Amber Holt, Sun
0-6 FG, 0-2 3-pt FG, 3 pts
85-73 loss vs. Silver Stars

Tina Thompson, Comets
3-14 FG, 0-5 3-pt FG, 13 pts
99-74 loss at Mercury

Candice Dupree, Sky
2-11 FG, 9 pts
69-61 loss at Liberty

Monday's Games ...

  • Indiana at Atlanta, 7 p.m. ET
  • Douglas

    As the WNBA's leading scorer, Phoenix's Diana Taurasi rarely has any trouble populating the last column of the stat sheet. But in Sunday's home rout of Houston, she had a sensational all-around game to keep alive the flickering playoff hopes of the defending champions. Taurasi scored 33 points - making 17-of-18 free throws - and added five assists, three steals and three blocks. In the first half, she made 15-of-15 foul shots, breaking Tina Thompson's league record of 14 free throws in a half. It was Taurasi's 20th career 30-point game, tying Lauren Jackson's league record. Maybe we should have called this section "Filling the Record Book."
    It has been a very erratic season for Lynx rookie Charde Houston. The forward from Connecticut made an early splash by scoring at least 15 points in three of her first four games, then managed just three double-digit games over her next 18 contests. More recently, a three-game stretch of 16, 11 and 15 points was immediately followed by a four-game run in which she averaged just 7.3 points. Coming off a scoreless effort vs. Seattle, Houston rediscovered her stroke once again, scoring 19 points - two off her season high - on 8-of-11 shooting in Sunday's loss at Sacramento. Minnesota has been eliminated from postseason contention, which should clearly establish Houston's personal goal for her sophomore pro season - consistency.