- The Washington Times - Monday, June 29, 2009

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) | Shavonte Zellous scored 18 points to lead the Detroit Shock to an 86-72 victory over the Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday night, giving Rick Mahorn his first win as a head coach.

Deanna Nolan had 14 points as the Shock (2-5) snapped a four-game losing streak. Mahorn was 0-3 since replacing Bill Laimbeer on June 15.

“It’s always good to get a ‘W’ because it’s been aggravating losing four in a row, and it’s important for the players to keep a high level of intensity, and the players did a good job of doing this,” Mahorn said.

Zellous has scored in double digits for the second straight game, after averaging 7.5 in her first four.

“She could start, but it gives us an extra spark and scorer coming off the bench,” Mahorn said. “It’s working out good right now, and if she continues it will be very helpful.”

The former Pittsburgh star, selected 11th overall in this year’s WNBA Draft, doesn’t mind her new role after being a starter in college.

The Shock also benefited from Kara Braxton’s season debut. The veteran center was out the first six games serving a suspension after pleading guilty to a drunken-driving charge during the offseason. She had eight points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.

“We had a bigger body in there to help us rebound some more and bang with the bigger players and have a taller player to shoot over,” Detroit forward Cheryl Ford said. “This is just one win, and we have a long way to go, but I think it’s a stepping-stone for us.”

Rebekkah Brunson scored 16 points for Sacramento (1-7), which lost its fifth straight.

“We’re just trying to find a way where we can turn things around and win some games,” Monarchs guard Kara Lawson said. “We got a lot of experienced players so we can turn it around, but we also know that if you get too far behind it’s going to be hard to make a push at the end.”

Detroit took control by outscoring the Monarchs 23-11 in the second quarter to take a 47-28 halftime lead. The Shock outshot Sacramento 46 percent to 21 percent in the period and had an 11-2 edge from the free throw line.

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