The Sacramento Monarchs made wide-open three-point shots, drove for easy baskets and challenged a lot of shots on defense.
The defending champions put together an all-around performance and hurt the Detroit Shock with a record-breaking start in the WNBA finals.
Kara Lawson scored 22 points, Nicole Powell had 21 and DeMya Walker had 17 -- each reaching career playoff highs -- to lead Sacramento past Detroit, 95-71, Wednesday night in Game 1, breaking finals scoring records for a half and a game.
“Everybody is coming out there with a vengeance. I’m not really surprised with my team,” Powell said. “It’s really special when everybody steps up their game.”
Lawson made six of eight from three-point range, surpassing the finals’ record and Powell went four for seven from there.
Sacramento and Detroit combined for a finals-record 166 points, beating the 161 points Detroit and the Sparks scored in 2003.
Sacramento scored a record 53 points in the first half, and led by 15. The Monarchs closed well and broke Detroit’s record of 83 points in the title-clinching victory over the Sparks in 2003.
Cheryl Ford led the Shock with a career playoff-high 25 points, but Swin Cash was scoreless and Ruth Riley had only two points.
Best-of-five series; all times Pacific (*if necessary):
SACRAMENTO VS. DETROIT
* Game 1: Sacramento 95, at Detroit 71
* Game 2: at Detroit...Friday, 4:30 p.m.
* Game 3: at Sacramento...Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
* Game 4: at Sacramento*...Wednesday, 6 p.m.
* Game 5: at Detroit*...Sept. 9, 12:30 p.m.