Gm 1: at Conn, Weds., 9/14, 8 p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 2: at Conn., Thurs., 9/15, 8 p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 3: at Sac., Sun., 9/18, 4 p.m. ET. ABC
Gm 4*: at Sac., Tues., 9/20, TBDp.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 5*: at Conn., Thurs., 9/22, 7:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2
For the third straight year, the WNBA will crown a new champion. The Connecticut Sun were just one shot away from winning last year's Finals while the Sacramento Monarchs make their first ever appearance in the championship series. The two teams were the most consistent, most dominant teams in the WNBA this season and went down to the final week to determine just who would have the best record. In their season matchup, the Sun won both games and showed that they are loaded with weapons. Nykesha Sales and Taj McWilliams-Franklin were All-Stars in their own right, and guard Lindsay Whalen could very well have been. The Sun have also had three different players win WNBA Player of the Week honors.

The Sacramento Monarchs have won their first Conference Finals series in four attempts. Perhaps fueled by another loss in the Western Conference Finals last year, the Sacramento Monarchs got out to an early lead in the Western Conference standings in 2005 and never looked back. They went on to win their first-ever regular season conference crown. Led once again by Yolanda Griffith and point guard Ticha Penicheiro, the all-time leading assist-scoring duo in league history, the Monarchs challenged for the best overall record in the league until the last weekend of the season. This is a team that stresses team defense and finished with a league-low 61.8 points allowed. An injury to All-Star forward DeMya Walker and Penicheiro in the early rounds of the Playoffs posed some challenges, but both are back and ready to contend for a championship. For the first time in history, the WNBA Finals will be a Best-of-Five series, with the Sun hosting games 1, 2 and 5, if necessary.

2005 Regular Season: Connecticut Sun 2, Sacramento Monarchs 0
Some fast facts about the Monarchs-Sun matchup:


One of the deepest, most balanced teams in history, four Sun players averaged better than 11.0 ppg this season: Nykesha Sales, Taj McWilliams-Franklin, Lindsay Whalen and Katie Douglas.
The Sun had winning streaks of eight games, six games, four games and three games (twice) this season. They only lost back-to-back games twice, both times to New York and Indiana.
Monarchs guard Ticha Penicheiro became the all-time WNBA career assist leader during the 2004 season, eclipsing the mark held previously held by Teresa Weatherspoon, who also happens to be the all-time career assist leader in the playoffs..
DeMya Walker was the team's leading scorer with 14.1 ppg and second-leading rebounder with 5.3 rpg, but that came in only 22 games this season.
Talk about a pair of fast-improving sophs, Nicole Powell is a leading candidate for Most Improved Player after being traded to the Monarchs in the offseason, finishing with 11 points per game. Meanwhile, Brunson started in 16 games and averaged nearly 8 ppg and 5.6 rpg.


Friday, June 24: Connecticut 61, Sacramento 50 | Box score

Sun leaders: Taj McWilliams-Franklin (15 pts., 14 reb.), Nykesha Sales (14 pts., 3 reb.)
Monarchs leaders: DeMya Walker (16 pts., 6 reb.), Yolanda Griffith (16 pts., 4 reb.)

Tuesday, June 28: Connecticut 70, Sacramento 66 | Box score
Sun leaders: Lindsay Whalen (14 pts., 5 ast.), Nykesha Sales (19 pts., 3 reb.)
Monarchs leaders: DeMya Walker (16 pts., 12 reb.)
NBA TV highlights: Play