Sacramento Monarchs

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Sacramento Monarchs
Sacramento Monarchs logo
HistorySacramento Monarchs
ArenaARCO Arena
LocationSacramento, California
Team colorsPurple, Red, White, Silver
Championships1 (2005)
Conference titles2 (2005, 2006)

The Sacramento Monarchs were a professional basketball team based in Sacramento, California. They played in the Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) from 1997 until folding on November 20, 2009.[1] They played their home games at ARCO Arena.

The Monarchs were one of the WNBA's eight original franchises and were noted early on for standout players Ticha Penicheiro, Ruthie Bolton and Yolanda Griffith. They were the sister franchise of the Sacramento Kings National Basketball Association (NBA) team. They were one of the more successful WNBA franchises on the court, though they often trailed behind perennial Western Conference champions the Houston Comets and the Los Angeles Sparks. However, in 2005, the team brought Sacramento its first championship, winning the WNBA Finals for the only time.[2]

Franchise history[edit]

Origins (1997–2003)[edit]

The Monarchs made an impact in the WNBA almost immediately. With the hiring of Portuguese national team player Ticha Penicheiro, popular player Ruthie Bolton and prolific scorer Yolanda Griffith, all of whom have been WNBA All-Stars, the Monarchs have been able to make the playoffs almost every year so far, but were normally eliminated before reaching the WNBA Finals.

Championship window (2004–2006)[edit]

After losing to the Seattle Storm in the 2004 WNBA Western Conference Championship, the Monarchs made major roster moves to improve the team – obtaining younger players and emphasizing Head Coach John Whisenant's defense-oriented system. Bolton, one of the team's original players, became a free agent and the Monarchs made the difficult decision not to keep her on the active playing roster, though they did offer her a position in their front office. Edna Campbell, a breast cancer survivor and another fan favorite, was not signed by the Monarchs and later signed with the San Antonio Silver Stars.

On March 3, 2005, the Monarchs traded Tangela Smith and a 2006 second round draft pick to the Charlotte Sting in exchange for former Stanford University standout Nicole Powell, Olympia Scott-Richardson, and Erin Buescher. After signing two Chinese players, Miao Lijie and Sui Feifei, the Monarchs traded Chantelle Anderson to the San Antonio Silver Stars for a 2006 draft pick. During the 2005 WNBA draft, the Monarchs drafted point guard Kristin Haynie from Michigan State University and Chelsea Newton from Rutgers University. The Monarchs did sign Ruthie Bolton as a free agent for the purpose of her trying to win a spot on team's roster during its pre-season training camp, but eventually waived her. Bolton later joined the Monarchs to work in their promotions and public relations department.

The Monarchs with U.S. President George W. Bush after winning the 2005 WNBA Finals

The offseason moves immediately paid off for the Monarchs as the team finished with a franchise-best 25–9 win–loss record. Whisenant was later named the WNBA Coach of the Year, and Powell received the WNBA Most Improved Player Award. After previous seasons of being eliminated from the WNBA Playoffs by either the Houston Comets or the Los Angeles Sparks, the Monarchs finally defeated both, sweeping both teams en route to their first appearance in the WNBA Finals. The Monarchs won their first ever WNBA Finals by defeating the Connecticut Sun, three games to one in a best-of-five playoff series, which brought the city of Sacramento its second major championship in a professional sport. After winning the championship, the Monarchs became the first women's professional team to appear on a Wheaties box.

The Monarchs remained strong in 2006, finishing second place in the West. The Monarchs would catch fire in the playoffs, once again sweeping both Houston and then top seeded LA to reach the Finals for the second straight season. But in the Finals, they were defeated by the Detroit Shock 3 games to 2, in the first WNBA Finals to go 5 games.

Decline (2007–2009)[edit]

In 2007, the Monarchs finished strongly again, but blew a chance to get the #2 seed at the end of the season. They were matched up against the San Antonio Silver Stars. After defeating the Silver Stars in game 1 at home, the Monarchs would lose games 2 & 3 (and the series) in San Antonio, ending their two-year run as Western Conference champions.

In 2008 the Monarchs were markedly less strong, but hung around the Western Playoff picture all season and finished with the #4 seed. Facing the Silver Stars again in the first round, the Monarchs were hoping for some payback for 2007. The series did not start well for the Monarchs, as they dropped Game 1 at home 85–78. Now the series shifted to San Antonio, and it seemed the series would come to a quick end. But the Monarchs would not back down, blowing out the Silver Stars in Game 2 84–67, forcing the critical Game 3. In Game 3, the Stars came out strong and at one point had a 14-point lead. But the Monarchs put together a furious rally, scoring seven points in the final 90 seconds of play to even the game and force it to overtime. But unfortunately for the Monarchs, the Silver Stars came out strong in the extra period and won the game, 86–81, ending the Monarchs' season.

In 2009, the Monarchs had one of their worst seasons in franchise history. It also led to the firing of head coach Jenny Boucek during the season, after which she was replaced by John Whisenant, the coach that led the Monarchs to their first championship in 2005. They finished 12–22, last in the conference and the league. They also missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2002 season and tied the record for the most losses with 22, the same number of losses they made 11 years ago.


It was revealed on November 20, 2009, that the Maloof family would no longer operate the Monarchs. The league attempted to re-locate the Monarchs to the San Francisco Bay Area, but on December 8, 2009, it was announced that new ownership could not be found and a dispersal draft would be held on December 14, 2009. As of 2024, the Monarchs were the last WNBA team to cease operations.

Possibility of rebirth[edit]

In October 2009, there were plans to relocate the Monarchs to Oakland but they never came to fruition.[3] The ownership group of the Sacramento Kings, led by Vivek Ranadivé, have indicated a desire to bring back the Monarchs as shared tenants for the new Golden 1 Center[4] an intention shared with former Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson,[5] himself a former professional basketball player in the NBA.

Season-by-season records[edit]

Season Team Conference Regular season Playoff Results Head coach
Sacramento Monarchs
1997 1997 West 3rd 10 18 .357 M. Murphy (5–10)
H. VanDerveer (5–8)
1998 1998 West 4th 8 22 .267 Heidi VanDerveer
1999 1999 West 3rd 19 13 .594 Lost Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles, 0–1) Sonny Allen
2000 2000 West 3rd 21 11 .656 Lost Conference Semifinals (Houston, 0–2) Sonny Allen
2001 2001 West 2nd 20 12 .625 Won Conference Semifinals (Utah, 2–0)
Lost Conference Finals (Los Angeles, 1–2)
S. Allen (6-6)
M. McHugh (14-6)
2002 2002 West 6th 14 18 .438 Maura McHugh
2003 2003 West 3rd 19 15 .559 Won Conference Semifinals (Houston, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (Los Angeles, 1–2)
M. McHugh (7–11)
J. Whisenant (12–4)
2004 2004 West 4th 18 16 .529 Won Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles, 2–1)
Lost Conference Finals (Seattle, 1–2)
John Whisenant
2005 2005 West 1st 25 9 .735 Won Conference Semifinals (Los Angeles, 2–0)
Won Conference Finals (Houston, 2–0)
Won WNBA Finals (Connecticut, 3–1)
John Whisenant
2006 2006 West 2nd 21 13 .618 Won Conference Semifinals (Houston, 2–0)
Won Conference Finals (Los Angeles, 2–0)
Lost WNBA Finals (Detroit, 2–3)
John Whisenant
2007 2007 West 3rd 19 15 .559 Lost Conference Semifinals (San Antonio, 1–2) Jenny Boucek
2008 2008 West 4th 18 16 .529 Lost Conference Semifinals (San Antonio, 1–2) Jenny Boucek
2009 2009 West 6th 12 22 .353 J. Boucek (3–10)
J. Whisenant (9–12)
Regular season 224 200 .528 2 Conference Championships
Playoffs 24 19 .558 1 WNBA Championship

Players and coaches[edit]

Final roster[edit]

Sacramento Monarchs roster
Players Coaches
Pos. # Nat. Name Height Weight DOB From Yrs
C 32 United States Brunson, Rebekkah 6' 3" (1.91m) 175 lb (79kg) Georgetown
C 15 United States Harper, Laura 6' 5" (1.96m) 190 lb (86kg) Maryland
PG 4 United States Haynie, Kristin 5' 6" (1.68m) 147 lb (67kg) Michigan State
PG 20 United States Lawson, Kara 5' 9" (1.75m) 165 lb (75kg) Tennessee
PF 9 Mali Maïga-Ba, Hamchétou 6' 1" (1.85m) 160 lb (73kg) Old Dominion
SG 2 United States Newton, Chelsea 5' 11" (1.8m) 154 lb (70kg) Rutgers
C 3 United States Paris, Courtney 6' 4" (1.93m) 240 lb (109kg) Oklahoma
SG 21 Portugal Penicheiro, Ticha 5' 11" (1.8m) 145 lb (66kg) Old Dominion
PF 14 United States Powell, Nicole 6' 2" (1.88m) 175 lb (79kg) Stanford
SF 5 United States Robinson, Scholanda 5' 11" (1.8m) 165 lb (75kg) LSU
PF 22 United States Walker, DeMya 6' 3" (1.91m) 168 lb (76kg) Virginia
Head coach
Assistant coaches
Athletic trainer
Strength and conditioning coach

  • (C) Team captain
  • (FA) Free agent
  • (IN) Inactive
  • (S) Suspended
  • Injured Injured

Head coaches[edit]

General managers[edit]

Hall of Famers[edit]

Retired numbers[edit]

Sacramento Monarchs retired numbers
No. Player Position Tenure
6 Ruthie Bolton G 1997–2004
GM Jerry Reynolds 1 General Manager 1997–2003

1 The Monarchs' first General Manager, has a retired jersey marked "GM", that was hung onto the ARCO Arena's rafters in 2004.

Notable players[edit]



  1. ^ "WNBA's Sacramento Monarchs fold". Bay Area News Group. 20 November 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2009.
  2. ^ "All-Time WNBA Champions".
  3. ^ Kaplan, Rebecca (October 16, 2009). "Oakland pol hopes WNBA scores in her town". San Francisco Business Times.
  4. ^ Ailene Voisin: Expect WNBA to return to Sacramento Archived 2014-02-01 at the Wayback Machine, Sacramento Bee
  5. ^ Sacramento mayor announces city's group to buy Kings

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by WNBA Champions
2005 (First title)
Succeeded by
WNBA Western Conference Champions
2005 (First title)
2006 (Second title)
Succeeded by