Monarchs lead by as many as 15, hold off Silver Stars in OT

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Ticha Penicheiro had 12 points, nine assists, and six rebounds to help the Sacramento Monarchs beat the San Antonio Silver Stars 101-93 in overtime on Thursday.

Nicole Powell had 21 points and seven rebounds, and DeMya Walker added 14 points for the Monarchs (5-15), who almost blew a 15-point lead.

Becky Hammon had a career-high 38 points and six assists, and Sophia Young added 29 points and 11 rebounds for the Silver Stars (8-9). San Antonio coach Dan Hughes missed the game as he was attending to his ailing father in Ohio.

Penicheiro's layup gave the Monarchs an 87-85 lead with 53 seconds left in regulation, but Hammon's one-handed shot with 17 seconds remaining forced overtime.

The Monarchs started the extra period with a 7-0 run. Walker made a layup with 1:15 left, and Kara Lawson added two free throws to secure Sacramento's victory.

"Historically, the team that comes out the strongest in that first couple of minutes in overtime generally gets the victory," said Walker, who made 6 of 9 shots. "That's all we were focused on coming out as the aggressors."

Sacramento put together its best first quarter of the season, sinking 11 of 19 shots from the floor and going 11 for 11 at the free-throw line.

The Silver Stars trailed 53-50 at halftime behind the efforts of Hammon and Young, who combined to make 14 of 19 shots and score 37 points in the first half. The rest of the team shot only 6 for 16 from the field.

"Two doesn't beat 11," Walker said of Hammon and Young. "Two people can have great games, but if you control everybody else on San Antonio, two is not going to beat our 11."

Hammon scored 12 points in the third quarter to help San Antonio to a lead heading into the fourth period.

Hammon's 3-point play at the start of the quarter put San Antonio ahead 77-72, but the point guard went cold after the Monarchs used Penicheiro to defend her. By then, Hammon had 31 points, but shot only 3 for 10 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

"I felt like it was up to me to make her work," Penicheiro said. "I was sick and tired of seeing her score at will. I've been playing against her for a long time, and I know her head fakes and the hesitations. You just can't go for that all the time."

The Silver Stars, behind Hammon and Young, nearly shot 55 percent from the floor. By the time the fourth quarter arrived, fatigued had settled in and San Antonio's defense disappeared.

"It's a shame because I felt that a good portion of the game we had under control," Hammon said. "We really made a lot of mistakes defensively. For us, that was the key. It really was not about our offense it was about our defense."

Game notes
Silver Stars assistants Sandy Brondello and Olaf Lange ran the team in Hughes' absence. Hughes is expected to rejoin the team when San Antonio plays Seattle on Saturday. ... Monarchs forward Rebekkah Brunson sat out a fifth game due to a strained right knee. ... The Silver Stars have not won in Sacramento since June 2, 2006. ... The Monarchs, 3-5 at home, had not won in Sacramento since beating Chicago on July 7.