Game: Indiana Fever (12-8) at Seattle Storm (10-12). When: 7 p.m. Thursday. Where: KeyArena. Meeting: First of two. TV: none. Radio: 1090 AM
Late to the seasonal party because she had a bigger dance to attend, Lauren Jackson finally will play her first game in the Storm’s 23rd WNBA contest Thursday against the Indiana Fever.
“Being back in the gym is cool,” Jackson told reporters after practice Wednesday. “It feels good. We didn’t do much today, but definitely coming back in and being on the court is fun.”
Coach Brian Agler indicated he’ll start Jackson, who watched from the bench as the Storm lost 86-73 Tuesday to Minnesota, but try to limit her to 10 to 15 minutes because she’s still not over jet lag.
“I had to press snooze about 100 times this morning,” she said. “I’m fine. I expect that for a couple of days.”
Jackson traveled from England and the Olympics to Australia for a post-Olympic celebration before getting to Seattle Monday evening.
“The more I see the girls out there, the more I want to get out there,” Jackson said.
Her help is needed to stop a rare two-game home losing streak, abetted by the eight-game injury absence of Ann Wauters (torn Achilles) and Tina Thompson (sprained knee), as well as a post-Olympics case of the flu for Sue Bird, who was recovered enough Tuesday to score 17.
The return of three-time MVP Jackson is about the only hope the Storm have of moving up from fourth place — the final playoff spot — before the postseason begins. A 1-7 start without Jackson, training with her Aussie mates, proved to be a a deep ditch with the other injuries.
Eight games back of WNBA-leading Minnesota and 6 1/2 behind San Antonio and Los Angeles, Seattle seems set in fourth. The Storm are way ahead of the two worst teams in the league in 4-17 Phoenix and 3-18 Tulsa.
Indiana (12-8), which has lost five in a row in Seattle, lost 79-69 Tuesday to the Sparks in Los Angeles, but remains second in the East. Indiana missed 10 of its first 11 field goals against LA and shot 32 percent for the game.
Coachees: Brian Agler is in his fifth season with the Storm. Former Storm coach Lin Dunn is in her fourth season at Indiana, where the Fever has made the playoffs each season, the longest active streak among WNBA coaches.
SEATTLE STORM 2012 SCHEDULE/RESULTS
|5/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||66-72||0-1|
|5/22/12||at Los Angeles||L||61-74||0-2|
|6/3/12||at Los Angeles||L||65-67||1-4|
|6/9/12||at San Antonio||L||67-80||1-6|
|6/22/12||vs. San Antonio||W||82-76||4-7|
|6/30/12||at New York||L||59-77||6-8|
|7/7/12||at Los Angeles||L||59-83||7-9|
|8/18/12||vs. Los Angeles||L||71-82||10-11|
|8/26/12||vs. New York||—||—||—|
|9/14/12||at San Antonio||—||—||—|
|9/21/12||vs. San Antonio||—||—||—|