“She’s like a wall,” Griffith said of Dydek. “She sits right there in the paint, so when you get a jump shot, you’ve got to have confidence and knock the shot down.” Nykesha Sales led the Sun with 23 points. Her 3-pointer with 1:26 left in the game pulled Connecticut to within three, 66-63. The Sun had a chance to tie it on its next possession, but Whalen missed a wide-open 3-point attempt from the right wing and the Monarchs hit 3 of 4 from the line to ice the game. “I think we lost our composure,” Douglas said. “Their defensive intensity is tremendous the entire 40 minutes. They never really relax. It’s something that we’re going to face the rest of the series, so we better get used to it.” 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREThe top 10 theme park moments of 2019 The Monarchs outscored Connecticut 38-26 in the paint. Griffith’s 25 points are the fifth-highest single-game total in WNBA Finals history. “She’s got that will right now to go and try to win a championship like everybody else and you can see how possessed she is at playing,” Connecticut coach Mike Thibault said. The home crowd got into it early when Lindsay Whalen was announced for the starting lineup for Connecticut. The star point guard broke a bone in her left knee during the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday and was questionable for this series. The 8,200 fans erupted when Whalen ran onto the floor through bright orange jets of fire. However, Griffith had the strong shooting touch in the end. The league’s leading offensive rebounder, Griffith shot 11 for 17, mostly on inside and second-chance buckets, and finished with a team-high nine rebounds. The Monarchs’ defensive pressure forced the Sun into 15 turnovers. Matched up most of the game against Connecticut’s 7-foot-2 center Margo Dydek, Griffith time and again shot over Dydek’s long reach or beat her on the baseline. UNCASVILLE, Conn. — It’s taken Yolanda Griffith seven years to reach the WNBA Finals, and her debut was a splashy one. Griffith scored 25 points and dominated inside as the Sacramento Monarchs beat the Connecticut Sun 69-65 in the opener of the best-of-five series. With her career winding down, the 35-year-old forward knows this could be her last shot at the title. “Nothing in life is guaranteed and I’ve been preaching that from day one,” Griffith said. “We’re here this year, but we can finish last next year.” The Monarchs lost both regular-season meetings but used a strong inside game, anchored by Griffith, and relentless defense to hand Connecticut a rare home loss. The Sun, making its second consecutive appearance in the finals, had lost only three games this season at the Mohegan Sun Arena coming in. Game 2 is tonight in Connecticut.