2005 WNBA Finals
|Dates||September 14 - September 20|
|MVP||Yolanda Griffith (Sacramento Monarchs)|
|Eastern Finals||Connecticut defeated Indiana, 2–0|
|Western Finals||Sacramento defeated Houston, 2–0|
The 2005 WNBA Finals was the championship series of the 2005 WNBA season, and the conclusion of the season's playoffs. The Sacramento Monarchs, top-seeded champions of the Western Conference, defeated the Connecticut Sun, top-seeded champions of the Eastern Conference, three games to one in a best-of-five series. This was Sacramento's first title.
The Monarchs made their first appearance in the Finals in franchise history. The Sun appeared in the Finals for the second straight time after having lost to Seattle in 2004.
Going into the series, neither team had won a WNBA championship. The Houston Comets hold the record with four championships won.
The Sun's 26-8 record gave them home court advantage over Sacramento (25–9).
Road to the finals
|Sacramento Monarchs||Connecticut Sun|
1st West, 2nd overall
|Regular season||26–8 (.765)|
1st East, 1st overall
|Defeated the (4) Los Angeles Sparks, 2–0||Conference Semifinals||Defeated the (4) Detroit Shock, 2–0|
|Defeated the (3) Houston Comets, 2–0||Conference Finals||Defeated the (2) Indiana Fever, 2–0|
Regular season series
The Sun won the regular season series against the Monarchs:
All times listed below are Eastern Daylight Time.
|Sacramento Monarchs 69, Connecticut Sun 65|
|Scoring by half: 27-31, 42-34|
|Pts: Griffith 25
Rebs: Griffith 9
Asts: Penicheiro 8
|Pts: Sales 23|
Rebs: McWilliams-Franklin 10
Asts: Sales 4
In an electric atmosphere, Yolanda Griffith came through with a powerful performance.
An Olympian and All-Star, Griffith helped the Monarchs make the Sun's home-court advantage useless in what is expected to be a tight best-of-five series.
With the crowd at Connecticut's Mohegan Sun Arena on its feet for virtually the entire second half, Griffith showed why she's one of the league's top players.
The 6-4 Griffith had her way near the basket over the final 20 minutes, making 8-of-10 shots. Her three-point play with 2:59 remaining gave the Monarchs a 63-59 lead.
|Sacramento Monarchs 70, Connecticut Sun 77 (OT) (OT)|
|Scoring by half: 39-38, 31-32 Overtime: 0-7|
|Pts: Griffith, Powell 16
Rebs: Griffith 9
Asts: Griffith, Newton 3
|Pts: McWilliams-Franklin 24|
Rebs: McWilliams-Franklin 16
Asts: Carey, Derevjanik, Sales 4
Playing without injured star point guard Lindsay Whalen, the Sun were seconds away from an 0-2 deficit but got back in the best-of-five series. Games 3 and 4 are Sunday and Tuesday at Sacramento.
Perhaps Connecticut's best player, Whalen sat out with a non-displaced fracture of her left tibia and a sprained left ankle.
After a timeout, the Sun inbounded to Katie Douglas, who momentarily held the ball but was not fouled by the Monarchs. She passed inside the arc to Taj McWilliams-Franklin, who drew inexplicable help defense from Ticha Penicheiro.
McWilliams-Franklin passed to the right corner to an open Wyckoff, whose shot splashed through to force overtime and bring a roar from the crowd at Mohegan Sun Arena.
|Connecticut Sun 55, Sacramento Monarchs 66|
|Scoring by half: 31-35, 24-31|
|Pts: Sales 17
Rebs: McWilliams-Franklin 13
Asts: McWilliams-Franklin, Sales, Whalen 2
|Pts: Griffith 19|
Rebs: Griffith 11
Asts: Walker 4
The Monarchs, who lost Game 2 in overtime after allowing a tying 3-pointer before the regulation buzzer, can claim their first championship with a win in Game 4 of the best-of-five series.
Griffith had a pair of baskets in a 9-0 burst that gave Sacramento its largest lead at 50-36 with just over 12 minutes to play. However, Connecticut used a 12-0 surge to get back in the game.
Two free throws by Nykesha Sales, who scored 17 points, made it 57-55 with 3:16 left. But those were the last points for the Sun, who appeared to wilt down the stretch.
Taj McWilliams-Franklin had 16 points and 13 boards for the Sun, who committed 16 turnovers and made just 10-of-19 free throws.
Connecticut All-Star guard Lindsay Whalen, who sat out Game 2 with knee and ankle injuries, returned but managed just two points and two assists with five turnovers in 23 minutes.
|Connecticut Sun 59, Sacramento Monarchs 62|
|Scoring by half: 31-25, 28-37|
|Pts: Jones 21
Rebs: McWilliams-Franklin 10
Asts: Whalen 5
|Pts: Griffith 14|
Rebs: Griffith 10
Asts: Walker 5
It took nine years, but the Sacramento Monarchs can finally call themselves WNBA royalty.
An original WNBA franchise, the Monarchs won the best-of-five series in four games. They went 7-1 in the postseason, losing only Game 2 of this series in overtime at Connecticut.
Sacramento trailed by 11 points in the first half and led by 10 in the second half before the game came down to a final shot. With a chance to tie the game, Nykesha Sales fired an airball on a 3-pointer, allowing ARCO Arena to finally celebrate.
|2005 Sacramento Monarchs Finals roster|
|2005 Connecticut Sun Finals roster|