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Powell sets team scoring mark in Monarchs' win

Sep 14, 2009 - 4:05 AM SACRAMENTO, Calif.(AP) -- Nicole Powell had arguably her best shooting game of the year, which seemed rather fitting on a night she broke the Sacramento Monarchs' single-season scoring record.

Powell had 27 points as the Monarchs cruised to an 88-66 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night in the season finale for both teams.

"I wasn't even aware of the record until this week, so it wasn't something I had been thinking about," said Powell said, who hit five 3-pointers and tied a career-high with 12 rebounds. "It happened kind of naturally."

Entering the game five points behind Yolanda Griffith's 1999 total of 545 points, Powell made three 3-pointers in the first quarter and scored 11 points, She finished this season with 567 points.

"If you allow a good player like that to take open shots like Powell had tonight they will knock them down," Minnesota's Charde Houson said. "We could have done a lot of things better, especially on defense."

Rebekkah Brunson had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Hamchetou Maiga-Ba scored 12 points. Ticha Penicheiro had 10 assists and rookie Courtney Paris added 14 rebounds for the Monarchs (12-22).

Powell made 11 of 14 shots overall in scoring in double figures for the 29th time this season, setting another franchise record.

Houston scored 18 points for the Lynx (14-20), who shot 26 percent. Quanitra Hollingsworth scored nine points and had nine rebounds, and Renee Montgomery also scored nine points.

Despite playing the final 28 games without leading scorer Seimone Augustus, who had knee surgery and played only six games, the Lynx stayed in the playoff hunt until being eliminated Friday night with a loss at Los Angeles.

"Playing tonight was a little challenging because the fight for the playoffs was over," Hollingsworth said. "This was not the way we wanted to end the season. We didn't show what we could do offenisvely or defensively."

The Monarchs led by led by 11 points going into the fourth quarter. The Lynx went scoreless for over six minutes in the period and were outscored 20-9.

Sacramento finished with the WNBA's worst record and the second-worst mark in franchise history, failing to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

The Monarchs, losers of 10 of their first 13 games, went 9-12 after general manager John Whisenant fired Jenny Boucek as coach and replaced her with himself on July 12.

"We had a horrible start, but we did get a lot better," Brunson said. "We started to fix some things, and if we would have had those things fixed earlier it would have been a much diffferent season."

The Monarchs' offense continued to revolve around Powell in the third quarter. She scored nine points as the Monarchs stretched their lead to 68-57 heading into the fourth.

Powell was clearly the difference in the opening half. The Lynx had no answer defensively against the former Stanford star, who made four 3-pointers and had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists, helping Sacramento take a 41-34 lead at the break.

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