Former stars want Monarchs to return

Published: Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 4C
Last Modified: Sunday, Mar. 17, 2013 - 11:38 am

Former Monarchs stars Ruthie Bolton and Ticha Penicheiro officially offered their support Thursday for the Mark Mastrov/Ron Burkle bid to purchase the Kings and partner with the city on a downtown sports and entertainment complex, and added another element: They want the Monarchs back.

The Maloof family, owners of the Kings and Monarchs, disbanded the WNBA franchise in 2009 in a cost-cutting measure.

One of the league's original eight teams, the Monarchs won the championship in 2005. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has said the Mastrov/Burkle offer includes plans for a new WNBA franchise.

Thursday's event was sponsored by Think Big and held at Andrea Lepore's downtown restaurant Hot Italian. A vocal crowd packed into the front of the restaurant and cheered speakers Bolton, Penicheiro and Jerry Reynolds, the Kings television analyst and one-time Monarchs general manager.

"This is our moment," said Bolton, a member of the original Monarchs squad and two-time Olympian. "We need a team here. The Monarchs were a huge part of our community. People remember that. I don't think I've ever gotten over the fact they disbanded, and the way it happened, without anyone having a chance to find other owners and keep the team. But we'll do everything we can to bring them back."

Call The Bee's Ailene Voisin (916) 321-1208 and follow her on Twitter @ailene_voisin.

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