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Sun-Monarchs Preview

Aug 31, 2009 - 5:26 PM By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN STATS Senior Writer

Connecticut (14-16) at Sacramento (10-20), 10:00 p.m. EDT

The Connecticut Sun and Sacramento Monarchs have made the playoffs for six straight seasons and met for the 2005 WNBA title. This year, they're both hoping to reach the postseason.

The Sun try to end a four-game skid Tuesday night when they visit the Monarchs, who own the worst record in the league.

Sacramento (10-20) beat Connecticut (14-16) for its lone title in 2005, and these teams have been perennial contenders. Both, though, are on the outside in their conference's playoff picture.

The Monarchs are 2 1/2 games behind San Antonio and Minnesota for the final spot in the Western Conference. The Sun are tied with Chicago for the last spot in the East, but the Sky own the tiebreaker.

Connecticut is looking to salvage the finale of a four-game road trip. Leading scorer Asjha Jones has missed seven straight games since straining her left Achilles' tendon, and reserve Erin Phillips has logged a total of 19 seconds in the last two contests.

"Our best player is not playing and one of our key bench players isn't playing," coach Mike Thibault said. "Our assistant coach's wife died so we didn't practice for two days and we'll be playing five games in eight days."

The Sun are 2-5 without Jones, including four straight double-digit losses. They fell 91-81 at Los Angeles on Sunday.

Shooting guard Anete Jekabsone-Zogota has emerged in Jones' absence, averaging 22.0 points in her last two games. The Latvian rookie is averaging 9.0 points for the season.

The Monarchs have lost four of the last five regular-season visits by the Sun and fell 83-75 at Connecticut on July 22. Jones had 28 points and 10 rebounds in that victory.

Sacramento has won five of eight after completing a season sweep of league-leading Indiana with a 79-78 road win Saturday. Rebekkah Brunson's layup with 36 seconds left was the game-winner as the Monarchs rallied from a 14-point deficit in the third quarter.

"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."

Nicole Powell had 19 points and 11 rebounds while Hamchetou Maiga-Ba scored 18 for Sacramento, which is trying for a third straight home win.

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