10:00 PM ET, June 9, 2007
Phoenix: D. Taurasi 26 Pts, 6 Reb, 8 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk
Sacramento: R. Brunson 17 Pts, 17 Reb, 1 Blk
The Sacramento Monarchs have developed one of the WNBA's best home-court advantages. That edge has been especially visible against the Phoenix Mercury.The Monarchs look to stay perfect at Arco Arena this year when they close a four-game homestand against the Mercury on Saturday.Dating back to last season, the Monarchs (5-2) have won 12 straight regular-season games at Arco Arena. They also went 3-1 there in last year's playoffs, advancing to the WNBA finals for the second consecutive season before losing a deciding Game 5 in Detroit.Sacramento is 39-6 at home since the beginning of the 2005 season, including the playoffs and the team's 3-0 start this year."Right now playing at home, we feel comfortable," six-time All-Star Yolanda Griffith told the team's official Web site. "This is probably one of the best starts we've had in Sacramento for a long time, so we have to take advantage. We're in first place right now. We're trying to win as many games as possible before we hit another road trip."The Mercury (5-4) have lost 12 of their last 13 games at Sacramento, including three in a row since their 71-69 victory on July 22, 2004. That win is their only one at Arco since winning four straight there during the WNBA's first two seasons -- 1997 and 1998.Phoenix has lost three of its four road games this season.Despite their struggles in Sacramento, the Mercury won two of three against the Monarchs in 2006. Diana Taurasi averaged 24.3 points in those games en route to the league scoring title.Taurasi, averaging 13.0 points in her previous five games, broke out of a scoring slump with 22 points on Thursday in an 80-66 home win over Chicago. Cappie Pondexter added 18 points as Phoenix snapped a three-game losing streak.The Mercury, who set a WNBA record by averaging 87.1 points in 2006, are scoring a league-best 85.1 per game this season.The Monarchs, on the other hand, have developed a reputation as one of the WNBA's top defensive teams. They are among the league leaders in opponents' scoring and opponents' field-goal percentage.Sacramento is coming off an 81-72 win over Seattle on Thursday. Rebekkah Brunson was one of five Monarchs to score in double figures, finishing with 13 points and 10 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. She is one of six different players to have held at least a share of the scoring lead in a single game for the Monarchs this year."We're all doing it collectively," coach Jenny Boucek said. "Yes, Rebekkah is playing very well, but our team is built on different people doing well at different times. I don't see this team getting selfish, because that's not what we do."After closing the homestand on Saturday, Sacramento plays three of its next four games on the road.