SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 7 (Ticker) -- The Sacramento Monarchs continue to bulldoze through their opponents.

Kara Lawson scored 13 points off the bench as the Monarchs built an 18-point halftime lead en route to a 55-45 victory over the Houston Comets.

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Sacramento (20-7) is off to its best start in franchise history. The Monarchs have built a five-game lead in the Western Conference by winning a franchise-record seven straight contests.

All-Star Yolanda Griffith scored eight of her 10 points in the opening 20 minutes as the Monarchs raced to a 34-16 lead.

Lawson connected on 5-of-7 from the field, including 2-of-3 from 3-point range, as Sacramento's bench outscored Houston's reserves, 26-10.

The Comets went on a 20-6 run over the first nine minutes of the second half to climb back into the game. Janeth Arcain's layup cut Houston's deficit to 40-36 with 11:01 to play.

Sacramento pulled away, however, as Ticha Penicheiro converted a free throw to give the Monarchs a 49-39 cushion with 5:25 to play.

Arcain and Sheryl Swoopes scored 10 points each for Houston (15-12), which fell five games behind Sacramento in the conference.