Storm beats Los Angeles; Jackson named All-Star starter
The Associated Press
All-Star starter Lauren Jackson burned the Sparks again, scoring 11 of her 23 points in the third quarter to help the Seattle Storm pull away from Los Angeles 90-71 tonight.
Jackson, the reigning WNBA player of the week, was 7-fot-15 from the floor as Seattle won for the fourth time in its last five games. Jackson matched her career high with 35 points the last time she played Los Angeles on June 24.
Betty Lennox added 18 points and Sue Bird had 10 points and 11 assists for the Storm.
Seattle took a 40-36 lead into halftime after Jackson's 3-pointer in the waning seconds of the first half. The momentum carried into the third quarter, where Seattle scored 20 of the first 26 points, eight of those coming from Jackson. The Storm extended their lead to 20 on Lennox's off-balance putback at the third quarter buzzer and led by 24 in the fourth.
Los Angeles continued to struggle since the abrupt retirement of All-Star Chamique Holdsclaw on June 11. Los Angeles won its first two games after its leading scorer suddenly walked away, but the Sparks have dropped seven of their last nine and are two games behind Seattle for fourth in the Western Conference.
Reserve Kiesha Brown led Los Angeles with 16 points, but she had little help. Leading scorers Marta Fernandez and Taj McWilliams-Franklin were both held under double figures. McWilliams-Franklin did not start, still bothered by a hamstring injury, and scored just four points in 13 minutes.
At halftime, the Storm announced that Bird and Jackson were voted to be All-Star starters, but Bird won't be playing in the July 15 event.
Bird will undergo arthroscopic surgery on her left knee on Friday to remove loose particles that have been causing discomfort the last few weeks. She chose the stretch around the All-Star break to have the surgery, and is expected to miss about two weeks -- likely six games -- recovering from the surgery.
Bird will have surgery at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company