Australian star Lauren Jackson (pictured right by Getty Images) re-signed with the Storm on Thursday, preparing to play her 10th — yes 10th — season in Seattle. The announcement is actually a formality since Jackson verbally agreed to a two-year deal with the Storm prior to leaving in September.
“I want to finish my career here,” she said after exit interviews with coach Brian Agler and CEO Karen Bryant in September. The versatile PF turns 29 in May.
The delay was waiting for WNBA free agency to open, which was pushed back this year due to teams adjusting to several economic cuts.
Jackson also had personal and physical hardships she had to overcome while in her native land. She played for her Canberra Capitals with Olympic coach Carrie Graf, winning the WNBL Grand Final last week. It was Jackson’s sixth overall title, scoring 18 points and grabbing 13 rebounds in Saturday’s win.
A two-time WNBA MVP, Jackson missed eight games and the Storm’s 2009 first-round postseason exit due to stress fractures in her lower back. She rested the injury for nearly four months and hasn’t had a problem with her back since returning to play in December.
Yet, WNBL play is lighter than the WNBA, where teams compete about twice a week and talent isn’t as deep.
“There is not a better player in the WNBA than Lauren,” Agler said in a press release. “She is such a presence both offensively and defensively and her intensity and desire to not only compete, but to win is unmatched.”
Jackson is the Storm’s all-time leading scorer, averaging 19.4 points and 7.4 boards. She’s part of a solid core that includes PG Sue Bird, SF Swin Cash, C Camille Little and top reserves G Tanisha Wright and C Janell Burse.
Also director of player personnel, Agler added G Chelsea Newton and F Le’coe Willingham to the lineup while signing F Jana Vesela to the training camp roster. C Ashley Robinson was extended an invite, but has yet to announce her signing.
Agler is still looking for a backup guard and another post to round the final roster.