Jackson and Wright lead Storm over Monarchs

Preview | Box Score | Recap

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP)—A three-week vacation left Lauren Jackson only one week to get ready for another WNBA season with the Seattle Storm.

Apparently it was plenty of time.

Jackson scored 23 points and Tanisha Wright added 21 to help the Storm beat the Sacramento Monarchs 71-61 on Saturday in the season opener.

Despite playing with five fouls, Jackson scored seven points in the final four minutes as Seattle closed the game on a 13-2 run.

“I had three weeks off (in Australia), so I wasn’t sure what I would be capable of doing today,” said Jackson, who admitted she was a little hesitant remembering some of the team’s set plays.

A faulty memory and even early foul trouble couldn’t slow down the two-time league MVP, who had two fouls in the game’s opening minutes and was whistled for her fourth early in he third quarter.

Jackson wound up with five fouls, but more importantly hit 8-of-12 shots, both 3-point attempts, and all of her five free throws. The nine-year veteran also had four rebounds and zero turnovers.

“Lauren is an experienced player. With the two fouls early you can either let her play on sit her down. We choose to let her play,” Seattle coach Brian Agler said. “I have a lot of confidence in her. She knows how to play when she gets into foul trouble.”

Laura Harper had 11 points and six rebounds for the Monarchs, who shot 33 percent. Ticha Penicheiro added 11 points.

“We made a lot of correctable mistakes, so that’s one of the things we can take from this game,” Penicheiro said. “I don’t know how many offensive rebounds (14) that Seattle had, but it was too many. We also made too many turnovers that really hurt us.”

Sue Bird added seven points and eight assists for Seattle.

Trailing by seven points early in the fourth period, the Monarchs used their swarming defense to ignite its offense, which led to eight straight points and put Sacramento ahead by one point at the 5:03 mark.

But Jackson’s 3-pointer helped built the lead back to 64-59 with just over two minutes to play and a three-point play by Wright gave the Storm ahead 69-61 with 50 seconds remaining.

“Jackson is one of the best all-around players in our league and is really skilled,” Harper said. “She makes you work on defense every second you are guarding her. A player like that makes you overly think in certain situations, and can result in leaving other players open for shots when it’s a pick-and-roll. But that team’s just not Lauren Jackson, they have a lot of other good players.”

Courtney Paris of Sacramento, the seventh pick in this year’s draft, went scoreless and had one rebound, playing six minutes in her WNBA debut. Her father, former San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Bubba Paris, was in attendance.

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 Top Performers
T. Wright Tanisha Wright
9-16,  21 Pts
5 Rebs, 2 Assists
L. Harper Laura Harper
4-7,  11 Pts
6 Rebs, 3 Assists


Saturday, Jun 6