LATE FRIDAY: Ticha Penicheiro leads the WNBA in assists and probably shots passed up.
But that situation is starting to change.
The Sacramento point guard was looking to score Friday night, getting 15 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists in a 71-58 win over Detroit.
"Teams are laying off Ticha and she has to start making them pay," Sacramento coach Sonny Allen said. "She's going to the basket more and picking up her offensive game. She thinks pass too much. We needed to change that."
That's fine with Penicheiro, who also led the league in assists a year ago as a rookie.
"Sonny has been encouraging me to take shots, I know I have to become more of a scorer," said Penicheiro, who was 4-of-13 from the field, but made 7 of 11 free throws. "If I am more aggressive, it helps open up our post game."
The post game prospered as well. Forward Latasha Byears scored 14 and Yolanda Griffith had 12 and nine rebounds for the Monarchs, who led 41-26 at the half. Guard Kedra Holland-Corn scored 10 of her 15 points in the second half.
It was an important win for the Monarchs, who moved three games in front of Minnesota for the third and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Sacramento, 8-3 at home, plays five of its final six games at Arco Arena.
Detroit had 14 first-half turnovers and finished with 20. Sandy Brondello scored 13 and Val Whiting had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Shock.