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The Monarchs finished second best in their conference, yet for the second straight year, they were the ones representing the West in the WNBA Finals. Detroit stole the Monarchs' hopes of winning back-to-back championships, but now Sacramento is ready to hop back up on their throne. Former WNBA player Jenny Boucek has taken over the coaching reigns from John Whisenant, who remains with the team as general manager.
Nine-year veteran point guard Ticha Penicheiro has also stuck around and remains a top-notch defender. Though she averaged only 5.4 points a game, she contributed in other ways, notching 3.4 assists, 2.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest.
The athletic frontcourt duo of Nicole Powell (9.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and Rebekkah Brunson (6.8 ppg, 5.6 rpg) will also be back along with shooting guards Kara Lawson (8.1 ppg) and Scholanda Robinson, who will likely battle it out for a starting spot. Power forward DeMya Walker (9.3 ppg, 4 rpg) and point guard Kristin Haynie will also be in the mix for substantial playing time.
NOT COMING BACK
Free agents Erin Buescher and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba left the Monarchs during the offseason. Buescher, the WNBA's Most Improved Player in 2006, signed with San Antonio, while Maiga-Ba, a key reserve, has headed off to Houston to play for the Comets.
Former North Carolina Tar Heel La'Tangela Atkinson came over to the Monarchs in a March 23 trade. Selected ninth overall in the 2006 Draft by Indiana, the tough defender will add depth to the Monarchs bench.
Veteran Adrian Williams will also be a Monarch in 2007, coming over in a February trade from Minnesota. Playing in the forward and center spots, she will provide coach Boucek with flexibility in the frontcourt.
The core of the Monarchs teams from 2005 and 2006 will be back and on the hunt for a championship. A team with a serious defense-first mentality, they will continue to make it difficult for their opponents to put the ball in the basket. Sacramento is a team that's hungry for a championship and -- provided they can score enough points -- they have the ability to win it.