Sparks and Monarchs To Collide Again in Conference Finals
Gm 1: at Sac., Thu., 8/24,
10 p.m. ET. NBA TV
2: at LA., Sat., 8/26, 9 p.m. ET. ESPN2
Gm 3*: at LA., Sun., 8/27,
10 p.m. ET, NBA TV
While the Monarchs rolled through the first round
and swept the Comets, the Sparks did not have it as easy as they were forced to
a three-game series against the Storm. These two veteran clubs know each other
well and are meeting in the Western Conference Finals for the second time in three
years. It took the Sacramento Monarchs nearly half the season to start looking
like the defending champions, but the Monarchs rolled off a seven-game winning
streak after the All-Star break and rolled into the playoffs as the second seed.
Despite a slight decline in Yolanda
Griffith's scoring and rebounding numbers from last season, the 2005 WNBA
Finals M.V.P. is still leading the Monarchs as they make their eighth straight
postseason appearance. The Los Angeles Sparks, who got out of the first round
for the first time in the last three season, have lost their last four road games,
including an 84-72 loss to the Storm in Game 1 of the semi-finals, but are riding
an eight-game home winning streak into the Western Conference Finals. The top-seed
in the West is led by M.V.P candidate Lisa
Leslie, who paced the Sparks during the 2006 season in scoring (20.0 ppg),
rebounding (9.5 rpg), blocks (1.68 bpg) and field goal percentage (51.1% fg).
Mwadi Mabika also had a breakout game in Game Two to keep the Sparks series alive
while Temeka Johnson had an all-around solid first round series.
Regular Season: Los Angeles Sparks 3- Sacramento Monarchs 0
fast facts about the Sparks-Monarchs Western Conference Finals matchup:
The last time the Monarchs entered the postseason as a two-seed
was in 2001. They advanced to the Conference Finals, but ended up losing to the
Los Angeles Sparks in three games. The Monarchs won the title last year as the
top seed in the West, yet won Game One of the 2005 WNBA Finals on the road and
sealed the deal at home in Game 4.
Yolanda Griffith was the only player on the Monarchs to average double-digits
in points per game this season (12.0 ppg). Yet, DeMya Walker returned from maternity
leave near the end of July and has steadily improved throughout the season. She
averaged nearly 12 ppg in her final 12 games.
Sixth Woman of the Year... Chamique Holdsclaw averaged 15.0 points,
6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists without starting a single game during the regular
season. However, during Game One of their first round matchup against the Storm,
Holdsclaw started her first game of the season and finished with 13 points and
nine rebounds in 28 minutes. Yet she was limited to only two minutes of court
time with Plantar fasciitis. .
Talk about a 1-2 punch, center Lisa Leslie led the Sparks in scoring
20 times and teammate Chamique Holdsclaw led the team seven times. Yet, the Sparksonly
managed to go 3-4 when neither Holdsclaw nor Leslie was the team's leadings scorers
during the regular season.
Sunday, June 18, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA :Sparks
80, Monarchs 69 | Box score Sacramento Leaders: Nicole Powell (15 pts., 6 ast.), Kara Lawson (14
pts., 1 reb.) Los Angeles Leaders: Mwadi Mabika (27 pts., 1 reb.),
Lisa Leslie(16 pts., 7 reb) NBA TV highlights:
Friday, June 23, Arco Arena, Sacramento, CA:Sparks
77, Monarchs 63 | Box score Sacramento Leaders: Scholanda Dorrell (15 pts., 4 reb.), Yolanda Griffith
(14 pts., 5 reb.) Los Angeles Leaders: Mwadi Mabika (24 pts., 3 reb.),
Chamique Holdsclaw (12 pts., 8 reb) NBA TV highlights:
Sunday, August 9, Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA : Sparks
69, Monarchs 58 | Box score Sacramento Leaders: Kara Lawson (18 pts., 5 reb.), DeMya Walker (12
pts., 3 reb.) Los Angeles Leaders: Lisa Leslie (18 pts., 10 reb), Mwadi
Mabika (16 pts., 3 reb.)