Jackson scores game-high 30 in Storm win
Seattle Times staff reporter
Lauren Jackson shrugged it off Friday.
Her shooting a problem after some time away? She has been doing it since she was 4, she reminded the media around her, so it shouldn't be surprising that she could drain consecutive three-pointers at practice after being bed-ridden the previous four days with an undisclosed illness.
But as Jackson, a 6-foot-5 power forward, swished a three-pointer off a Sue Bird pass Saturday to give Seattle a 7-0 lead, even the five-time All-Star had to gush.
Later, as the Storm celebrated a 90-76 win over Minnesota at KeyArena, Jackson admitted she was stunned by every one of her game-high 30 points, considering the uncertainty she faced Monday.
"I didn't know what to expect," Jackson said. "As soon as the first shot went in I was like, 'What? OK, keep shooting 'cause it might just be one of those days.' It felt good out there."
Storm coach Anne Donovan did pull Jackson two minutes into the game — after the player had grabbed three rebounds and hit a three. When questioned about the quick substitution, given Jackson's health scare, Donovan responded, "I don't want to talk about it."
A team source said Jackson didn't execute part of the game plan and was substituted to be reminded. She came back in with 5:40 remaining in the opening quarter and was never again substituted out of Donovan's normal pattern.
It was a vintage Jackson night, an offensive show the Lynx couldn't defend. Many of the highlights came in the second quarter after the Storm fell behind 28-26.
Reserve Tanisha Wright converted a steal into a layup to start a 20-6 run, which Jackson finished with a jumper. Jackson had 11 points in the second quarter.
"We played our game and usually that's going to turn into some sort of offensive firepower," said Wright, whose team shot a season-high 52.2 percent from the field. "Since I've been here as a rookie [in 2005], Lauren continues to amaze me. She just does things that people just physically can't do at times. She's the best player in the league, there's no doubt about that, so I guess it shouldn't surprise me that she's doing the things she does. She just comes out and plays hard every night."
The Storm's defense on Lynx star Seimone Augustus helped Jackson overtake her as the league's leading scorer (24.0). Augustus, defended primarily by Iziane Castro Marques, finished with a season-low 13 points — 9.1 points off her average.
Jackson missed two practices and Thursday's loss at Sacramento. She spent three days being examined and wanted to keep the ailment private.
Although she said she was "a little bit tired" after the game, there are no plans for treatment or need for her to be watched overnight. Jackson did need two stitches underneath her chin after knocking into Lynx forward Svetlana Abrosimova's head while attempting to block her shot in the first quarter.
Abrosimova suffered a gash just inside her front hairline. She made her ensuing free throws from the Jackson foul and finished with a season-high 15 points.
The Storm (3-3) leaves today for its first back-to-back road set against Chicago on Tuesday and Indiana on Wednesday. The Sky (4-4) defeated San Antonio 70-60 on Saturday. The Storm lost twice to the Silver Stars during a three-game losing streak.
"Our season has started very slowly and this is the start of the real deal," said Jackson, whose team is in the midst of five games in nine days. "We need to get wins from here on in and we can't let wins go like we have the last few games. It's huge for us to definitely win this one and get on the road with a positive."
Make that two positives — Jackson and a win.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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