SPOTTED: Seahawks star Bobby Engram and Washington C Mackenzie Argens are in the house. Argens is actually a new Storm intern in marketing. She said the job is working out well so far and she’s participating in open gym with other Huskies. Liz Lay is one of the few not with the team, taking time to vacation at home. School resumes in September and the season begins in October.
BIRD BALL: In the final presentation before tip off, Bird was given the game ball from reaching her 3,000th-point game. It was encased in glass and the crowd gave her a standing O, too.
LENNOX THANKED: Lennox received a standing ovation for her being named to the All-Decade team. The Storm presented her with a bouquet of flowers and a token from Tiffany’s. She dished the swag off to her brother Clarence, who is dressed in a sequined gold top and gold felt fedora hat with gold pants and I think alligator shoes. It’s his last appearance at the Key for the regular-season and he stepped out in style, again.
EATING CROW?: Before the arena had a chance to fill, the Storm aired the message from Leslie, which looked as if she was reading from cue cards. Dressed in yellow, she referred to Storm fans as the “best fans” and asked that they continue to support the WNBA “because we cannot make it without you.” Fans applauded.
Mark Storm PF Lauren Jackson as one looking forward to the Storm airing a tribute to fans from LA C Lisa Leslie. “That’ll distract me for sure,” Jackson said with a smile.
Leslie (knee) was unable to travel and announced she’s retiring at season’s end, so the Storm was “strongly encouraged” to broadcast a message from her to fans. Apparently the WNBA is ignoring the fact that Leslie is booed every time she’s introduced in Seattle. Last time the teams met this season KeyArena fans cheered the fact that she was injured.
Jackson is going to start even though she hasn’t run the full length of the court or practiced in a week due to a left Achilles strain.
“I wanted to get back before the All-Star game and feel comfortable,” said Jackson, the team’s leading scorer (18.9). “Know that I’m OK. Test it out and give it a good run. I’m not quite, yet, but I’m getting there.
“Definitely I’m a little bit nervous and whatever. But I’m looking forward to getting out there and giving it a go. Everyone knows my situation.”
Storm coach Brian Agler said Jackson’s minutes could be limited, but it’ll be up to communication with Jackson. He thought about having her play off the bench, but opted against the move because “she’s a pretty good player,” Agler said.
The Storm will honor 2004 Finals MVP Betty Lennox prior to the game for making the organization’s All-Decade team. It’s Lennox’s third return to Seattle since being left unprotected by Agler for the Atlanta expansion draft in 2007.
“It’s been three times and every time there has been something planned to get me caught up in moment,” said Lennox of her returns where she was moved to tears with the Dream in 2008 and cheered for loudly earlier this season. “I’m beginning to think it’s planned so I won’t play well. My goal is to come out and play a little bit better. I haven’t played well [at KeyArena] since I left here because it’s so emotional. But it’s a great honor and I appreciate what they’re going to do for me.”
Then let’s get to it. Here are your starting lineups:
F Candace Parker
F DeLisha Milton-Jones
C Tina Thompson
G Betty Lennox
G Kristi Harrower
F Swin Cash
F Lauren Jackson
C Camille Little
G Sue Bird
G Tanisha Wright
Tonight’s officials are Michael Price, Scott Twardoski, and Maj Forsberg.