Basketball

How a former Monarchs star was finally passed in WNBA’s record books

FILE -- Sacramento Monarchs point guard Ticha Penicheiro is fouled by Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird as she drives to the basket in the second half of the WNBA game, Saturday, June 17, 2006, at Arco Arena.
FILE -- Sacramento Monarchs point guard Ticha Penicheiro is fouled by Seattle Storm’s Sue Bird as she drives to the basket in the second half of the WNBA game, Saturday, June 17, 2006, at Arco Arena. Sacramento Bee File Photo

Ticha Penicheiro was one of the flashiest and most effective passers in WNBA history.

The longtime Sacramento Monarchs point guard retired from the league as its all-time assists leader.

Nearly five years later, her record has been broken.

With her third assist Friday, Seattle Storm guard Sue Bird notched the 2,600th of her career to surpass Penicheiro, who retired after the 2012 season.

Bird didn’t stop there. She finished with 13 on the night, but her Storm fell 110-106 to the host Washington Mystics.

Penicheiro applauded Bird’s accomplishment on Instagram.

“Sue, congratulations on becoming the all-time assists record holder,” she wrote. “Records are meant to be broken and if somebody is going to take your ‘crown,’ you want it to be somebody like you. You do it with class, charisma, passion, humility, efficiency, professionalism and creativity … always leading your team and your teammates. You have done so much for the game, not just here with the WNBA in the U.S., but all over the world! Continue to be an example of how to play the game the right way and continue to inspire people around the world to play basketball. I will continue to cheer every dime you throw because I am – and always will be – a fan!!!”

Penicheiro – who played 15 seasons in the WNBA, including her first 12 with the Monarchs – still holds some league records in terms of assists, including highest single-season average (8.0), career average (5.72), season total (236) and most in a game (16, twice).

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