Sacramento Monarchs: 2007 Preview

SACRAMENTO MONARCHS
2006 Results: The Monarchs finished 21-13, (.618, 2nd in the West).
Roster | Stats | 2007 Schedule
Head coach: Jenny Boucek enters her first season with the team.
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2007 Probable Starters:
C:
Yolanda Griffith
PF:
Rebekkah Brunson
SF:
Nicole Powell
SG:
Kara Lawson
PG:
Ticha Penicheiro
2007 Draft Results:
Rd. 2:
Jessica Dickson
2006 Leaders:
Points
Yolanda Griffith, 12.0 ppg
Rebs.
Yolanda Griffith, 6.4 rpg
Assts.
Ticha Penicheiro, 3.4 apg
Blocks
Yolanda Griffith, 0.5 bpg
Steals
Ticha Penicheiro, 1.7 spg

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.

COMING BACK


Griffith
All five of the Monarchs' 2006 starters will be returning in 2007 to avenge their Finals loss. Yolanda Griffith led the team in points (12.0), rebounds (6.4) and steals (1.3) and for the sixth time in her storied career, she was named to the All-Star team. She also earned selection to the WNBA's All-Defensive second team and the All-Decade Team. Griffith will continue to be an offensive threat and will also slow down her opponents at the other end of the court.

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.

KEY ADDITIONS


Newton
She is back! Chelsea Newton helped lead the Monarchs to their first WNBA championship in 2005. That season, the 5-10 guard started all 34 regular season games and all eight playoff games for the Monarchs before joining the Chicago Sky team in 2006. In the Windy City last season, she averaged 6.5 ppg and 1.3 spg for a squad that struggled to a 5-29 record. Known for her tough defensive play, Newton adds another stopper to the Monarchs mix.

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.

OUTLOOK

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.

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