Series Breakdown: Sacramento Monarchs (1) vs. Houston Comets (3)
1: at Hou, Thurs., 9/8, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN
2: at Sac., Sat., 9/10, 5:30 p.m. ET. ESPN2
3*: at Sac., Sun., 9/11, 3 p.m. ET. ESPN2
Monarchs have not won a Conference Finals series in their previous three attempts.
On the other hand, the Houston Comets have won all four series with a trip to
the Finals on the line. But that is why the past is the past. 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
posed serious questions about the Monarchs durability in the Playoffs,
but guard Kara Lawson
through an injury of her own in Round One .
The Houston Comets have been one
of the best teams in the West all season long. After missing the playoffs last
season, Sheryl Swoopes returned
to her MVP form and led the league in scoring. Her triple-dpuble in Game 3 against
the Storm in the opening round was the first in playoffs history and showed why
she is still one of the best players in the world. Center Michelle
Snow was an All-Star for the first time and the frontcourt was solidified
with the return of Tina Thompson
from maternity leave midway through the season. Add in Olympian Dawn
Staley, who was acquired just before the trading deadline, and the Comets
have four 2004 Olympians in their starting lineup.
Monday, June 13: Sacramento
74, Houston 68
Regular Season: Sacramento Monarchs 2, Houston Comets 1
fast facts about the Monarchs-Comets first-round matchup:
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
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.
After taking the 2004 season off to train with her national team in Brazil, guard
Janeth Arcain returned to Houston to help lead the Comets back to the playoffs.
She finished with more than 10 ppg and started in all 34 of the Comets games.
Except for last season, Arcain has started in every game of the Comets since 1999.
In ten games with the Comets after being traded from
the Sting, point guard Dawn Staley averaged 3.0 ppg and 2.6 apg. Both were well
below her season and career averages.
Tina Thompson started in all 15 games after her return, and while she averaged
slightly less than 10 points per game, well below last season's 20.0 ppg, she
did score 17 points twice, 18 points twice and 20 points once in her brief season.
| Box score
Tuesday, July 19: Houston 58,
Nicole Powell (18 pts., 3 ast.), Yolanda Griffith (17 pts., 10 reb.,
5 ast.)Comets leaders:
Sheryl Swoopes (20 pts., 4 ast.), Michelle Snow
(9 pts., 4 reb.)
| Box score
DeMya Walker (21 pts., 8 ast.), Yolanda Griffith (6 pts., 10 reb.)Comets
Sheryl Swoopes (22 pts., 2 ast.), Janeth Arcain (10 pts., 5 reb.)
NBA TV highlights: Play
August 7: Sacramento 55, Houston
45 | Box score
leaders: Ticha Penicheiro (9 pts., 4 ast.), Yolanda Griffith (10 pts., 6 reb.)
leaders: Sheryl Swoopes (10 pts., 3 ast.), Janeth Arcain (10 pts., 7 reb.)