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Lawson Helps the Monarchs Get Started

Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Sacramento Monarchs made wide-open three-pointers, drove for easy baskets and challenged a lot of shots at the other end of the court.

The defending champions put together an all-around performance and hurt the Detroit Shock with a record-breaking start in the WNBA finals last night in Auburn Hills, Mich.

Kara L awson scored 22 points, Nicole Powell had 21 and DeMya Walker added 17 -- each reaching career playoff highs -- to lead Sacramento past Detroit, 95-71, in Game 1, breaking finals scoring records for a half and a game.

"Everybody is coming out there with a vengeance. I'm not really surprised with my team," Powell said. "It's really special when everybody steps up their game."

Lawson made 6 of 8 from three-point range, surpassing the finals' record for shots made beyond the arc, and Powell went 4 for 7 from long range.

"I just got good looks, and I was able to find some holes in the zone," Lawson said. "I thought [ Ticha ] Penicheiro and [ Kristin ] Haynie did a tremendous job running the offense."

Shock guard Katie Smith agreed.

"Obviously, we need to stay a little closer to Lawson and Powell," she said. "We got a little frustrated and tried to force some things offensively. And defensively, they picked us apart."

Sacramento and Detroit combined for a finals-record 166 points.

"I'm tickled to death," Sacramento Coach John Whisenant said. "We got home court back, and that was our goal.

Game 2 is tomorrow night at The Palace in suburban Detroit before the best-of-five series shifts to Sacramento.

"We have to win Game 2 or we're in a world of trouble," Shock Coach Bill Laimbeer said.

The Monarchs' high-scoring trio had at least 11 points each to help Sacramento score a record 53 points in the first half, and lead by 15. They helped Sacramento close strong and break Detroit's record of 83 points in the Game 3 clinching victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in 2003.

-- From News Services

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