Two Sacramento Monarchs Named to ‘W25’ WNBA All-Time Team

The WNBA is celebrating its 25th birthday this season. To honor the occasion, they released the ‘W25’, the latest list of the ’25 greatest and most influential WNBA players of all time’.

Among the 25 honorees, two Sacramento Monarchs legends, Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penichiero were selected to the team.

The complete ‘W25’ list is below.

‘W25’ Selection Process

“The W25”

The selection of “The W25” began with a list of 72 nominees chosen based on factors such as on-court performance and ability, leadership, sportsmanship and community service, and contributions to team success. A select panel of media members and women’s basketball pioneers and advocates then cast the votes that determined “The W25.”

The nominees were required to have been a member of a WNBA team for at least two seasons and met four of the following seven criteria: won a major individual award; selected to either the All-WNBA First Team or All-WNBA Second Team; selected to either the WNBA All-Defensive First Team or WNBA All-Defensive Second Team; selected to the WNBA All-Star Game; a member of a WNBA Championship team; currently ranked among the top 40 career leaders in at least one major statistical category; and/or a recipient of the WNBA’s season-long Community Assist Award.

https://www.nba.com/news/wnba-names-25-greatest-most-influential-players-in-league-history

Of the 25 players on the list, 10 are currently competing in the WNBA!

Ahead, I give a little bit of insight, stats, and more on the two Sacramento Monarch legends selected to the ‘W25’ – Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro!

2005 WNBA Champion Sacramento Monarchs Make Mark on ‘W25’

From 1999-2008 the Sacramento Monarchs went on a historic run:

  • Sacramento made the playoffs 9/10 seasons from 1999-2008
  • 2005 and 2006– The Monarchs earned back to back WNBA western conference championships
  • ‘Crowning’ Achievement – winning the WNBA CHAMPIONSHIP in 2005!

For years the Monarchs could not seem to get past in-conference rivals and multiple-time WNBA champions – Los Angeles Sparks and Houston Comets.

After years of playoff losses at the hands of both of the previously mentioned WNBA champions – the Monarchs finally got over the hump – sweeping both of the Houston and LA powerhouse franchises on their WNBA championship journey.

In 2005 the Monarchs won their first and only WNBA title against the Connecticut Sun!

That 2005 triumph turned into a 2009 tragedy. In 2009 the Monarchs franchise folded – along with the Maloof family name and bankroll. (This will be discussed more in-depth in a future article).

Five former Sacramento Monarchs players are enshrined Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame players – Yolanda Griffith, Ruthie Bolton, Ticha Penichiero, Heather Burge, and Bridgette Gordon.

In my opinion, the Sacramento Monarchs are the best professional sports franchise to EVER call SacTown home.

Two players who played an integral role in that were Yolanda Griffith and Ticha Penicheiro!

Yolanda Griffith

With the 2nd overall pick in the 1999 WNBA draft, the Sacramento Monarchs selected center Yolanda Griffith out of Florida Atlantic University. In my opinion, one of the biggest ‘moves’ in Sacramento professional sports HISTORY.

During her rookie season ‘Yo’ earned all-star honors, where she averaged per game – 18.8 points, 11.3 rebounds, 2.5 steals, and 1.9 blocks!

While appearing in over 311 contests during her 11 seasons in the WNBA – Griffith holds career averages of 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 1.7 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Yo’s trophy closet is probably a walk-in, or maybe even a pool house at this point.

During her career, she earned league MVP, Finals MVP and Defensive Player of the Year. Griffith won a championship with the Monarchs in 2005. She also earned All-WNBA pick five times, All-Star seven times, and was a two-time All-Defensive choice.

Griffith played a HUGE role in Sacramento Monarchs’ 2005 WNBA championship. Yo put up one of the best postseason performances in WNBA history. On her way to winning finals MVP, Yolanda Griffith averaged 17.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game during the playoffs.

In my opinion, Griffith is the best professional basketball player to ever play in Sacramento.

Griffith was a member of the United States Women’s Basketball Team, winning Gold Medals during the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympics.

In 2014 Griffith was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and more recently will be honored as 2021 Naismith Hall of Fame inductee.

YO is a beloved figure in Sacramento and she is very deserving of this ‘W25’ honor! Congrats, Yo!

Ticha Penicheiro

Ticha Penicherio, born in Portugal, was drafted second overall in the 1998 WNBA draft by the Sacramento Monarchs, out of Old Dominion University.

Penichiero, a 2005 WNBA champion with the Monarchs, played 12 of her 15 NBA seasons in Sacramento. That includes earning four straight All-Star selections, from 1999-2002, as well as All-WNBA honors three times.

During her 15 year WNBA career, Penichiero appeared in 453 total games, starting 423 of them, including starting 364 of her 369 games played for the Monarchs!

Her career averages per game were 6.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.7 assists. Penicheiro ranks second in WNBA history in total assists (2,599), having led the league in the category in seven seasons.

She has twice tied the WNBA’s record with 16 assists in a single game!

“It’s an amazing honor to be selected as one of the top 25 players in the history of the WNBA,” said Penicheiro. “With so many amazing players that have been a part of this league, I’m grateful and humbled to be among them. Growing up in Portugal I used to have big dreams and I can only say that I have surpassed all of them.”

https://www.nba.com/news/wnba-names-25-greatest-most-influential-players-in-league-history

Congrats, Ticha!

VIDEO: Ticha Penicheiro Career Assist Mix

Get Involved in the GOAT Vote

You can vote on who you think should be named the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time).

How fans can vote:

  • Com voting page at wnba.com/goatvote: Fans can fill out one ballot per day (per day is defined as once every 24 hours) on WNBA.com/goatvote from a desktop or mobile browser.
  • WNBA App: Fans can access the ballot through both the “Latest” and “More” tabs on the WNBA App, which is available on Android and iOS. Fans can fill out one ballot per day.
  • Twitter: Fans can tweet in their votes for their favorite player with the below criteria:
    • An eligible vote consists of:
      • The campaign hashtag (e.g.: #WNBAGoatVote) with the player name from The W25 list with or without a space (e.g.: Jane Doe or JaneDoe) or
      • The W25 player’s Twitter handle (e.g. @WNBAplayerJaneDoe)
    • Example of a Valid Vote: I just voted Jane Doe for the #WNBAGoatVote or I just voted for @JaneDoeWNBAPlayer for the #WNBAGoatVote
    • Retweets will count as a valid vote

Who is YOUR Favorite Monarch EVER?

Let’s continue the conversation on my TWITTER: @sactowncrown

GO Monarchs!

-Tom Witt

Embed from Getty Images

Published by Tom Witt

31 years old - Chico, CA - When MJ retired in 1998 I received a Sacramento Kings Kids Club sign up sheet in the mail... and I've never looked back! GO KINGS!

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