She’s been called the Michael Jordan of the women’s game. Over the weekend she reminded us why.
Australian Defence Force Opals captain Lauren Jackson was named the Most Valuable Player at the EuroLeague Women’s Final Four in the Czech Republic after leading Spartak Moscow to the prestigious European crown.
Jackson wasn't the only Australian honoured, with World Champion ADF Opal Belinda Snell, who plays for Bourges Basket in France, also named to the EuroLeague Final Four All Star team. Americans Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird and Tina Thompson rounded out the list.
Want to see FIBA's excellent back stage interview with Belinda Snell?
Jackson scored 18 points and pulled down 12 rebounds in the Championship game to lead Spartak to a 75-60 triumph over local champions Gambrinus Brno, securing her second consecutive EuroLeague crown.
“We really wanted to win this so badly because I love the girls on the team,” Jackson said after the victory.
In Spartak’s 78-68 semi final victory over Ekaterinburg, Jackson faced two of her ADF Opals team mates, Penny Taylor and Kristi Harrower, and ruled the roost.
Taylor, the MVP of Australia's world title win in Brazil two years ago, had three fouls in the first quarter and did not play the entire second period. She ended up with eight points and four rebounds for the game while Harrower finished with 9 points.
Jackson, by comparison, registered twin game-highs of 35 points and 12 rebounds.
Ekaterinburg overcame that semi final loss to defeat Bourges Basket of France, 70-69, on a buzzer beater to secure third place. Snell had 16 points for Bourges, who previously lost their semi final in OT to Brno, 90-81.
Snell had one of the best games of her career in that semi final match, connecting on 7-of-11 three-pointers to finish with a game high 29 points to accompany seven rebounds.
After nearly eight months in Russia, Jackson now has the completion of the Russian domestic league to endure before she jets off to America to rejoin the Seattle Storm for her eigth season in the WNBA.
Seattle's first regular season game is scheduled for May17.