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20080524/SACCON
Monarchs-Sun Preview
By MATT BECKER, STATS Writer

Despite missing two of their top four scorers from a year ago, the Connecticut Sun haven't skipped a beat.

The Sun look to open with three straight victories for the first time in franchise history on Saturday when they host the Sacramento Monarchs, who are trying to avoid dropping their third game in a row.

Connecticut traded two-time All-Star Katie Douglas to Indiana for Lindsay Whitmore in February and veteran forward Nykesha Sales is sitting out this season due to various injuries, but the Sun have still opened 2-0 for the second time in three years.

After defeating expansion Atlanta 100-67 in last Saturday's season opener, Connecticut spoiled New York's first game of 2008 with a 77-63 victory Sunday at Madison Square Garden.

Against the Liberty, the Sun squandered most of their 18-point lead in the third quarter before pulling away.

"We still don't have all of our rhythm yet," Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. "We looked sluggish early trying to run the ball. I think we caught our second wind down the stretch, with six or seven minutes to go. We regrouped."

The Sun have opened strong behind the play of Whitmore and Lindsay Whalen.

Whitmore led Connecticut with 17 points against New York after scoring 22 in the season opener. Whalen finished with 16 points last Saturday, and has 16 assists through the first two games.

The Sun have also been doing a fantastic job on the glass. They outrebounded the Liberty 39-22 and have outrebounded their first two opponents 92-51.

While Connecticut has jumped out to a strong start, the Monarchs (1-2) are in a bit of a funk.

After beating San Antonio 73-64 in its season opener, Sacramento has been outscored by an average of 11.0 points in its last two games. The Monarchs have not opened with three losses in their first four games since 2004.

Sacramento lost to Chicago 87-77 on Thursday, as it turned the ball over 21 times leading to 30 points for the Sky. The Monarchs are averaging 22.7 turnovers a game, second-most in the league.

"It's definitely something that we have to improve on," forward Rebekkah Brunson said. "In both games we kind of suffered from our turnovers and enabled them to have a lot of fast-break points."

Brunson had 16 points and seven rebounds on Thursday, and is averaging team highs of 13.7 points and 7.3 boards.

Sacramento guard Kara Lawson scored 13 points against Chicago. She averaged 16.5 points in two games versus Connecticut last season.

The Monarchs and Sun spit their two-game season series in 2007 with each team winning on the road.

Whalen averaged 22.5 points and 7.5 assists against Sacramento last season.

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