June 7, 2009 in Sports

Jackson keys Storm rally

Two-time MVP shows no rust in season opener
Associated Press
Associated Press photo

Storm forward Tanisha Wright drives past Monarchs forward DeMya Walker, right, during the second quarter.
(Full-size photo)

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 at Sacramento, Calif.

Despite playing with five fouls, Jackson scored seven points in the final 4 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 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 important hit 8 of 12 shots, both 3-point attempts, and all five of her 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 or 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.

Sue Bird added seven points and eight assists for Seattle.

January debuts: Briann January (Lewis and Clark High) had 10 points and five assists in her WNBA debut as her Indiana Fever lost to host Atlanta 87-86 in two overtimes.

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