Monarchs make 39 FTs

SACRAMENTO -- Chelsea Newton of the Sacramento Monarchs could do little to stop an old college teammate, so she decided to focus on offense as much as defense.

Newton scored a career-high 18 points for the Monarchs, who beat the Phoenix Mercury 103-97 Saturday night despite a 33-point effort from Cappie Pondexter, who played with Newton for three years at Rutgers.

"Cappie is a player you really can't stop," said Newton, who's averaging 4.8 points a game this season. "Cappie and (Diana) Taurasi are going to get their points, so we tried to limit everyone else."

Nicole Powell and Kara Lawson had 15 points each for the Monarchs (10-11), and Ticha Penicheiro had 14 points and six assists. Despite playing with an injured knee, Rebekkah Brunson had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Crystal Kelly scored 10 for Sacramento.

Taurasi scored 20 points but was 1 for 6 from 3-point range and committed six of the Mercury's 20 turnovers. Kelly Miller scored 13 points, and Tangela Smith had 10 points and eight rebounds.

The Monarchs, who have won two in a row, played their usual pestering style and attacked the Mercury's interior defense -- putting six players in double figures. Sacramento made a franchise-best 39 of 43 free throws in registering a season-high point total.

"What did they shoot, 80, 70 free throws?" a frustrated Taurausi said in a subdued Phoenix locker room. "They shot 43 free throws in one game. People don't come out to watch free throws."

Deciding not to settle for perimeter shots against Phoenix's soft zone defense, the Monarchs frequently drove to the basket.

Sacramento made its first 25 free throws as everyone got involved, including Newton, who shot 4 of 7, made all 10 free throws and had three rebounds and two steals in 19 minutes.

"I'm not going to be out there bombing 3s when they are playing a zone. I'm going to the basket," Newton said.

OTHER GAMES -- Sue Bird scored 18 points and Lauren Jackson 14 for the host Seattle Storm, which extended its winning streak to six by beating the Los Angeles Sparks 70-52. ... Shameka Christon scored 19 points, Loree Moore and Janel McCarville had 13 each, and the host New York Liberty beat the first-place Detroit Shock 74-64 ... Seimone Augustus scored 27 points and Anna DeForge 17 in Minnesota's 85-71 victory over visiting Houston. DeForge was 5 for 10 from 3-point range. ... Katie Douglas scored 13 of her 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Indiana rode a game-ending 7-0 run to a 66-57 win over Chicago.