Sky
Monarchs
73 - 83 Final
  for this game

Monarchs hold off Sky 83-73

Jul 8, 2009 - 4:52 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- A veteran team that has been damaged by early season injuries, the Sacramento Monarchs saw no reason to panic after opening the season 1-7.

The Monarchs didn't resemble a struggling team Tuesday night against the Chicago Sky. Kara Lawson had 13 points and six assists, and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba also scored 13 points for the Monarchs, who won their second straight game, holding off the Sky for an 83-73 victory.

With several players still recovering from offseason surgery and minor injuries disrupting their lineup, the Monarchs were off to the worst start in franchise history. But the cohesion was clearly there against Chicago.

"We're getting our chemistry on the run because we didn't have a training camp or an early season together," Monarchs coach Jenny Boucek said. "We're making good progress right now."

That was apparent against the Sky, who were coerced into 18 turnovers by Sacramento's pesky defense and were outrebounded 34-23, leading to a 46-26 points-in-the-paint edge for the aggressive Monarchs. Sacramento had 20 turnovers, but offset that with a season-best 55 percent shooting.

Sacramento (3-8) entered the game with revenge in mind after the Sky went on a late 11-0 run at home last week to defeat the Monarchs 74-72.

"Last game we didn't close it out, so it was nice to do that tonight knowing that they took that game from us," said Maiga-Ba, who scored her 13 points in only 16 minutes.

Trailing by 13 points early in the fourth quarter, the Sky (6-5) cut the margin to four on Jia Perkins' drive with 3:21 remaining. But Nicole Powell hit a 3-pointer and Maiga-Ba followed with a layup to help secure the win.

Perkins had 21 points and six assists, Candice Dupree scored 18 points and Dominique Candy added 10 points for the Sky.

Rebekkah Brunson had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Powell scored 10 for the Monarchs.

"Sacramento did a good job overall, it wasn't one or two players getting their points, they were getting points from everyone," Dupree said.

Lawson connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to help the Monarchs stretch their lead to 11 points midway through the third quarter. Yet it was Perkins who kept the Sky from falling further behind. Perkins scored 12 third-quarter points, but Chicago trailed 64-55 heading into the fourth period.

Contributing to the Monarchs' early-season problems was playing seven of their first 10 games on the road. Despite the rough start, Brunson says they stuck together.

"No one panicked when we were losing, we know each other and know what we are capable of doing," Brunson said. "We still have the same core group of players and we know what works for us."

For Chicago, the road problems continue. The Sky is 5-0 this season at home, but takes a 1-5 road record into Wednesday's game at Phoenix.

"This year we're really struggling on the road.Somehow we've got to find a way to start the game better and not get behind by so much so early," Dupree said.

Sylvia Fowles, the Sky's leading rebounder and shot blocker, missed her second straight game with a sore right knee.

The Monarchs squandered a nine-point lead, but used a late 3-point basket by Lawson to enter the half with a 40-37 lead. Brunson scored 10 points for Sacramento, which shot 51 percent.

Brunson scored six points in a tight first quarter, helping the Monarchs take a 19-17 lead.