Brunson sparks Monarchs' rout of slumping Silver Stars

SAN ANTONIO -- Rebekkah Brunson had 19 points and nine rebounds, leading the Sacramento Monarchs to a 90-73 victory over the San Antonio Silver Stars on Tuesday night.

Nicole Powell added 17 points for the Monarchs (6-17). Scholanda Robinson scored 13 points, Kara Lawson had 12 and Ticha Penicheiro added 11 assists.

Brunson, who returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing the previous seven games with a right knee strain, hit 8-of-10 shots as Sacramento shot 56 percent from the field.

"We were dying for a win," Monarchs coach John Whisenant said. "We got them down, and we were playing hard and didn't let them up."

Sophia Young scored 14 points and Vickie Johnson had 12 to lead the Silver Stars (10-12), who have lost four of their last six and squandered a chance to move into a tie with Minnesota for third place in the Western Conference.

Becky Hammon, the league's leading scorer who had 38 points against the Monarchs the last time the teams played, managed only 11 points this time on 3-for-10 shooting.

"She's the leader of their team, and you have to pressure her for 40 minutes," Brunson said. "That's what we did. We didn't give her anything easy."

The Monarchs limited San Antonio to 4-of-15 shooting in the second quarter and led by as many as eight. Brunson hit just as many shots as the Silver Stars in the quarter, going 4-for-5 and scoring 10 points to give Sacramento a 40-32 lead with 3:02 remaining in the first half.

The lead expanded to nine points 4:53 into the third quarter on a fastbreak jumper by Powell. Powell added a 3-pointer and a three-point play to give Sacramento a 70-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Lawson helped put away the Silver Stars -- scoring the first eight points in the fourth quarter, including a pair of 3-pointers, that gave the Monarchs a 21-point lead with 7:30 left to play.

"It's going to be tough every game, even against teams you'd think are on the bottom of the league," Young said. "This Sacramento team played very tough tonight, and we didn't match their intensity."

The Monarchs were able to weather a quick start by the Silver Stars. San Antonio hit 8-of-10 to open game, including 2-of-3 3-pointers, and led 20-13. Though the Silver Stars shot 61 percent from the floor, the Monarchs hit their final five shots of the quarter and only trailed by three.

The Monarchs have the worst record in the WNBA, but they have won two of three this season against San Antonio.

"We have a lot of pride in our locker room," Brunson said. "We're not going to give up. We could be 0-16 right now and we're still going to play hard."