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Monarchs beat Comets, stay unbeaten at home

Associated Press

Nicole Powell scored 18 points, including two 3-pointers in the final 1:38, and the Sacramento Monarchs remained unbeaten at home with a 74-68 victory over the Houston Comets on Monday night.

Yolanda Griffith added 17 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and two blocked shots for Sacramento, which improved its franchise-best start to 7-2. The Monarchs are 4-0 in Arco Arena.

Sheryl Swoopes had 20 points and four assists and made 10 of 11 free throws for the cold-shooting Comets, who lost their third straight game.

There were nine ties in the second half, so the Monarchs had to work to preserve their perfect home record. Sacramento shot 53.7 percent.

Edwige Lawson’s 3-pointer with 7:36 remaining gave Houston a 56-55 lead, but Powell hit two straight 3-pointers for Sacramento. Then the former Stanford star came up big again.

Kristen Rasmussen scored with 1:52 left to put Houston ahead 66-63, then Powell hit a tying 3 on the other end. Powell, who had a rough rookie year with Charlotte, is shining in coach John Whisenant’s freelancing system.

The Western Conference-leading Monarchs had their three-game winning streak snapped Saturday in an 81-74 loss at Los Angeles, but bounced back with a hard-fought win.

Sacramento beat Houston for the fifth time in their last six meetings.

Janeth Arcain was whistled for a technical with 13 seconds left when she argued a foul after knocking down Griffith.

Sacramento’s Kara Lawson returned to the lineup after missing the last seven games with a sprained left ankle.

Storm’s Bird has nose surgery

Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird had surgery on her broken nose Monday, the team said.

Bird sustained a broken nose and broken right orbital bone when she was elbowed by teammate Lauren Jackson with 3 minutes left in Seattle’s loss at Connecticut last Tuesday. It was the first game of a four-game road trip.

Bird returned to Seattle to be examined by team doctors, and the Storm went 2-1 without her.

Bird played in last year’s playoffs with a broken nose after a collision with Minnesota’s Teresa Edwards.

The team listed Bird as day to day. Seattle hosts Minnesota on Wednesday night.

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