Monarchs End Shock Win Streaks
For the Shock, it was their first loss on the four-game West Coast trip, their first loss to a Western Conference team (6-1) and their first road loss (4-1) of the year. The Shock (10-2) also are now 2-2 without forward Cheryl Ford, who sat out for the fourth time in five games with a left knee sprain.
Guard Shannon Johnson scored 11 points, continuing her strong play in the starting lineup for Ford. In her three games as a starter she has averaged 14.6 points per game after averaging only four points in nine games as a reserve. Johnson also is shooting 51.7 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from three-point land as a starter. Johnson had struggled mightily with her shot coming off the bench (27.1 percent).
Guard Deanna Nolan led Detroit with a season-high 23 points and dished out four assists. Despite a poor shooting night, Katie Smith scored 13 of her 17 points in the second half and added five assists. Swin Cash also chipped in 11 points, starting the game 4-for-4 from the field.
Sacramento, the league leader in offensive rebounding, took advantage of 16 offensive rebounds while Detroit grabbed only six. Overall, the Monarchs ended up controlling the glass, 37-24.
Defense ruled the day in this rematch of the 2006 finals. The Monarchs were held to 34 percent shooting, who were in turn held the Shock to only 30 points in the first half. In a rare occurrence Detroit won the turnover battle, forcing 16 turnovers while giving up 14, four below their team average.
The Shock nearly played a duplicate performance of their come-from-behind victory Friday night in Phoenix. After trailing by as many as 15 points, the Shock took a 74-73 lead on a 3-pointer by Smith with 2:27 remaining. But Monarch guard Ticha Penicheiro scored eight of her 12 points in the final two minutes to clinch the game for Sacramento, which had lost four of its last five meetings with Detroit.
The Monarchs bench was the difference, combining for 38 points while Detroit’s contributed only nine. Reserve guard Scholanda Robinson with 13 points led Sacramento’s balanced attack. Rebekkah Brunson and Yolanda Griffith each contributed 11 points.
Both teams remain atop their respective conferences, and will not meet again this season unless their is a rematch of last year’s WNBA Finals. The Shock are one game ahead of Indiana while Sacramento stays a half-game ahead of San Antonio, whom the Shock will face July 1. The Shock’s next game is June 27 against Connecticut at The Palace.