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Monarchs hold off Fever 79-78

Aug 30, 2009 - 3:11 AM INDIANAPOLIS(AP) -- The Sacramento Monarchs aren't going to roll over for anybody in the final weeks of the regular season.

Trying to keep their playoff hopes alive in the Western Conference, the Monarchs used a Rebekkah Brunson layup with 36 seconds left to stun the East-leading Indiana Fever 79-78 on Saturday night.

Nicole Powell had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Hamchetou Maiga-Ba scored 18 and Brunson added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Monarchs (10-20), who moved within three games of fourth-place Minnesota (12-16) for the final playoff spot in the West.

"We're going to continue to play until the end of the season," Brunson said. "We have a lot of pride in our locker room, we have a lot of perseverance. Even though it may seem like it's over to people on the outside, we still have a reason to play.

"This season hasn't played out the way we expected, but we're not going to give up."

The loss was especially tough for Indiana (20-8), which could have clinched the East's top playoff seed and was trying to win a franchise-best 14th straight home game.

"This is definitely tough to swallow," said Tamika Catchings, who finished with 22 points, six rebounds and four steals. "We're the best we have ever been and there's never going to be another team like this. You have to take advantage of every opportunity."

The Fever looked poised to add to their memorable season, but Sacramento didn't provide the ending Indiana fans were hoping to see.

After trailing by 14 points in the third quarter, the Monarchs fought back. Laura Harper's layup with less than 1 minute left brought Sacramento within 78-77, and Brunson's steal and layup seconds later proved to be the winning points.

"My teammates pressured, so they really made that happen for me," Brunson said. "The last 5 minutes, we were down one, down three. We knew a win was in our grasp, so we just reached out and got it."

Following Harper's two missed free with 13 seconds left, the Fever had one last chance, but Catchings' jumper was off the mark.

"It felt good," Catchings said. "When it hit to the side, I said, 'Oh my God, no."'

As the final buzzer sounded, Sacramento players came together to celebrate.

"We are happy. Indiana is the best team in the league," said Monarchs coach John Whisenant. "It's an honor to get a win on their home court."

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