Lauren Jackson re-signs with Seattle Storm

Lauren Jackson re-signs with Seattle Storm

The Seattle Storm today re-signed two-time WNBA MVP and Australian Opal Lauren Jackson for the 2009 season, Storm Head Coach and Director of Player Personnel Brian Agler announced. Per team policy, terms of Jackson's new contract were not disclosed.

“Lauren is a key to our team’s success and we’re thrilled she has decided to continue her career in Seattle,” said Agler. “She’s an MVP, an All-Star and one of the best women’s basketball players in the world. Her renewed commitment to this organization is a big asset as we continue to work toward bringing another WNBA championship to the city of Seattle.”

She joins fellow Opal Suzy Batkovic in the lineup.

Jackson has received numerous accolades during her storied eight-season WNBA career. Most recently, Jackson was named to the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team in 2008 – the second time Jackson received the nod. Her first nomination to the WNBA All-Defensive Second Team came at the conclusion of the 2005 season. Jackson compiled 147 total rebounds (7.0 rpg), 108 total defensive rebounds (5.1drpg) and 33 total blocks (1.57 bpg) in 21 games for the Storm during the 2008 season. Should she have qualified by playing the league minimum games, she would have ranked 11th (rpg) and 6th (bpg) respectively. Jackson missed five games prior to the WNBA's Olympic break to practice with the Australian National Team, and eight games following the break due to ankle surgery.

“I’m honoured to return to the city of Seattle and the Storm organization as I take this next step in my WNBA career,” said Jackson. “To have the opportunity to continue to play under Coach Agler and alongside  Sue and the rest of my teammates in front of the most loyal and passionate fans in the WNBA means the world to me. I appreciate the patience and continued support of our fans, and I look forward to celebrating the Storm’s 10th anniversary with them at KeyArena this summer. I can’t wait to return to Seattle and begin working toward another championship.”

“We are thrilled to welcome back Lauren Jackson, who has been a cornerstone of the Storm franchise for the past eight seasons,” said Karen Bryant, President and CEO, Seattle Storm. “It is only fitting that Lauren's return coincides with our 10th anniversary season, and we look forward to her continued contributions to our team and our community on behalf of the Storm organization, the city of Seattle and our fans.”

Jackson was named the 2007 WNBA Most Valuable Player, receiving a total of 473 points, including 42 first-place votes. For Jackson, the MVP award was her sixth honour of the 2007 season; she was also named the 2007 WNBA Defensive Player of the Year and WNBA Peak Performer for both scoring and rebounding. Additionally in 2007, Jackson was a first-team selection to both the WNBA All-Defensive Team and the All-WNBA Team.

Jackson was also named the WNBA's Most Valuable Player in 2003. She is the first professional athlete in Seattle to earn the prestigious award twice. The Seahawks’ Shaun Alexander was the NFL’s MVP in 2005, while Mariners Ken Griffey Jr. (1997) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) have been honoured by the American League as MVPs.

Already recognized as an elite player in the league entering the season, Jackson added to her rapidly-growing legacy with a career year in 2007. She led the league in scoring for the third time in her illustrious tenure with the WNBA, while her 23.8 points per game was a career-best. Her scoring average was more than five points-per-game higher than her career mark (18.6 ppg) entering the season.

An eight-year WNBA veteran, Jackson holds career averages of 19.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 2.0 blocks. Jackson has been named to the WNBA All-Star Team each year the mid-season classic has been played during her time in the league (2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007). She has also received All-WNBA First Team honours five times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007) and was a member of the WNBA’s All-Decade Team in 2006.

Jackson, a native of Albury, Australia, won gold medals with the Australian National Team at the 2006 FIBA World Championships in Brazil and 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She has also won silver medals with the Australian National Team at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the 2002 FIBA World Championships in China, the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens and the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

The Seattle Storm will open its 2009 WNBA schedule on Saturday, June 6 in a 1 p.m. matchup vs. the Monarchs at ARCO Arena in Sacramento. The Storm returns to Seattle on Sunday, June 7 for its first KeyArena home game at 6 p.m., also against the Monarchs. The team’s June 7, 2009 home opener falls on the 10th anniversary of the city of Seattle being selected as one of four cities to receive a WNBA expansion team in 2000.

Story courtesy of The Seattle Storm
Photo courtesy of Jeff Reinking/NBAE/Getty Images