Candace Parker couldn't shake Lauren Jackson on defense. Aaron Last/Storm Photos
Jackson Leads Storm Defense
On a night where shots weren't falling, defense carried the Seattle Storm to an 81-67 Opening Night victory over the Los Angeles Sparks. The Storm held the Sparks to 36.8 percent shooting, forced 22 turnovers and rebounded all those missed shots, surrendering just five offensive boards. Perhaps the most important part of the defensive effort was the way the Storm contained 2008 MVP Candace Parker. Fresh off a 24-point, 12-rebound effort in L.A.'s opening game at Phoenix, Parker was limited to 10 points. She shot 4-of-11 from the field and turned the ball over five times. Defending Parker was a team effort, but Storm counterpart Lauren Jackson's ability to defend Parker one-on-one was key to making that work.
"Candace Parker's a great player," Storm Head Coach Brian Agler said after the game. "There is absolutely no question about it. Lauren Jackson's defense tonight was unbelievable. Unbelievable. We have some people who can stay in plays with Candace. A lot of teams don't have that, so they have to gimmick and do different things to defend her, go to zones and things like that. I'm sure there will be games Candace will have big games against us. But Lauren really did a great job. I told her that afterward."
The Storm began the game double-teaming Parker in the post, but with the Sparks knocking down five three-pointers in the first 12 minutes of the game, that strategy could not continue.
"What they did to us early is they threw it to her, then we'd go help to her and they'd kick out and hit shots," explained Agler. "So we had to adjust from just totally going into help to cat and mouse - not giving her a good read of whether we were going to come or stay with shooters."
That put more pressure on Jackson to handle Parker without the benefit of help. She responded well - despite the fact that she admitted she still wasn't sure how to stop Parker, whom she called "a great player."
"I don't know what I was trying to do," Jackson said. "I didn't really have a plan or anything. I knew she was going to score. I guess it was just my 29 years on this Earth."
Los Angeles Head Coach Jennifer Gillom also cited Jackson's veteran savvy as key to the matchup.
Editor Note: We all know that Lauren Jackson is the most happy that Lisa Leslie has decided to retire. Lisa robbed her of gold medal, after gold medal, after gold medal. She was also her obstacle from being called the greatest in the league. Sort of like, Kobe/Lebron. Well now Lauren is trying to use her "veteranship" to impose her will on Candace Parker...and it's time for Candace to let her know, that's not going to happen. Candace is more than able to take over a game...and sometimes I wonder if having great players like Tina, and Delisha don't sometime hinder Candace from truly being great. I say that because she doesn't DEMAND the ball, like say she would when she was in college, or become aggressive on both ends of the court. I know that Tina or Delisha have no problem with allowing Candace to be great, and now Candace simply just have to BE GREAT!
I KNOW CANDACE SAYS SHE LIKES LEBRON OVER KOBE, BUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THOSE TWO, ALTHOUGH LEBRON IS DEFINITELY MORE ATHLETIC (HE IS 6YRS. YOUNGER, ALONG WITH 7MILES LESS THAN KOBE IN THE LEAGUE) KOBE ABSOLUTELY BREATHED IN MICHAEL JORDAN'S BASKETBALL BREATH OF AIR, AND LEBRON IS BREATHING IN JAY-Z'S...that's not going to get a ring. Candace whose air you breathing in.
Oh and everybody already know, I am first a LadyVol for life, and I've been a Sparks fan since inception, so all I expect is championships. Loving Candace Parker is a no-brainer, but it's time to put this team on your back...demand the ball, jut your jaw out like Kobe, TAKEOVER...the Sparks are 0-2, it's time to go now.