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Hammon Propelled Silver Stars Past Monarchs

SAN ANTONIO, August 25, 2007 (AP) -- Facing playoff elimination, the San Antonio Silver Stars looked to the one player that has carried them all season. And Becky Hammon delivered.

She had 20 points to lead the Silver Stars to their first playoff win in San Antonio, an 86-61 victory Saturday over the Sacramento Monarchs.

Hammon, who had 15 points in the first half, finished 7-of-11 from the field. She had four 3-pointers, four assists and three steals to help the Silver Stars even the Western Conference series at 1-1.

"We wanted to come out, play hard and not get outhustled like we did in Game 1,'' said Hammon, who was awarded the WNBA Peak Performer Assist Award before the game. "We wanted to come out, be aggressive and set the tone on our home court.''

Hammon did just that, popping a 3-pointer for the Silver Stars' first points of the game. She was 4-for-4 behind the arch.

Sacramento tied it early in the first quarter, when Kara Lawson hit a 3-pointer to make it 11-all.

But Helen Darling answered back with her own 3-pointer, giving San Antonio a lead that would last the rest of the game.

Rebekkah Brunson led the Monarchs with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Kristin Haynie added 15 points.

The deciding game will be Monday night in San Antonio.

"We know how they (Sacramento) feel; it's the same way we felt at Sacramento,'' Hammon said. "Game 3 will be an all-out war.''

Marie Ferdinand-Harris had a season high 17 off the bench, and Sophia Young added 12 for San Antonio.

Reserves scored 38 points for the Silver Stars, who hosted their first playoff game since the franchise moved from Utah in 2003.

"We fell down in Game 1 on bench play,'' Silver Stars coach Dan Hughes said. "We had to compete better and we had to take care of the ball better, although I'm not sure we did that, but we did compete better.''

Sacramento, which won Game 1 86-65, never seemed to get in synch. The Monarchs had 22 turnovers, which the Silver Stars used to score 30 points.

San Antonio built a 43-25 lead at halftime after Ferdinand-Harris stole the ball and scored on a layup before the buzzer.

"I think they knocked us back on our heels,'' Monarch forward Nicole Powell said. "They got a big lead there in the first half, and it's hard to come back from that. Even though we fought hard and we played hard, overcoming a lead like that against a good team is going to be tough.''

The Silver Stars shot 53 percent from the field (33-for-63). They dominated the boards, a reversal from Game 1, outrebounding Sacramento 39-25.

Sacramento, hoping to get to the conference finals for the fifth straight year, has struggled on the road, going 7-10 during the regular season.

They are now 0-3 this year at San Antonio.

"We got our butts kicked in every aspect of the game,'' Monarch's coach Jenny Boucek said. "San Antonio outplayed us. For us it starts and ends with our defense. We go as our defense goes and our defense was off.''

Owners of both franchises - Joe and Gavin Maloof from Sacramento and Peter Holt of San Antonio - attended the game, as did former Spur and current New York Knick Malik Rose.

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