Lauren Jackson takes a hit, but the Storm answers with a 75-62 win at Los Angeles.
LOS ANGELES — The name is D-Nasty, after all.
Former Los Angeles coach Michael Cooper gave forward DeLisha Milton-Jones the moniker because of her defensive tenacity. Over her 11-year WNBA career, however, it has taken on a different meaning.
The Storm might say D-Malicious after an elbow in the first quarter against Seattle on Saturday gave Storm star Lauren Jackson a bloody nose.
“Every single game that we play against DeLisha, everyone knows she’s a thug,” said Jackson after the Storm defeated the Sparks 75-62 on Saturday. “It’s ridiculous to me, but whatever. On a bad day, I probably would have decked her back, but I don’t really care. I’m just happy we won.”
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Jackson scored 13 of her game-high 20 points in the opening quarter, helping Seattle jump to an early 13-0 lead. Yet, when she was evaluated after the game, it was determined that she played the final three quarters with a mild concussion.
The Australian rambled about blurred vision as she spoke freely to the media postgame. Jackson struggled after halftime (1-of-4 shooting) and the Sparks pulled to three points twice in the second half after trailing 43-33 at halftime.
But with the Storm leading 60-57 with 7:36 remaining, Seattle guards Sue Bird and Tanisha Wright hit consecutive three-pointers to ignite a 12-2 run, capped by a layin by Swin Cash off an assist from Jackson.
“She got whacked in the first quarter and everybody saw it,” said Storm coach Brian Agler of Jackson, who got a bloody nose in the outdoor game against L.A. That one came via the Sparks’ Tina Thompson.
“It’s unfortunate that the referees aren’t ready for it because I’ve said enough to the officials,” Agler continued. “It goes on deaf ears. We didn’t know anything about it (the concussion) until the end. That’s when Lauren voiced her issues.
“But it’s been three years — the same thing and it happens every game. It has to go above me and the officials — become an issue that sort of everybody looks at.”
Milton-Jones, a 6-foot-1 forward, did not get a foul on the play and claimed not to remember specifically hitting Jackson, who’s 6-5. She said that with players over 6 feet, long arms tend to get tangled and flail.
And both parties said they’re friendly off the court. Cash and Bird also had problems with Milton-Jones’ play Saturday.
“Both teams can send in a lot of video on each other regarding physical play,” said Milton-Jones, who had 14 points and five fouls (Jackson was called for one foul). “I know the personality I have off the court, there’s no way I can bring that on the court. I tried it when I was in college. If someone fell down, I would go over and pick them up and my coach was livid — ‘What are you doing? Either you give the first lick or you get the first lick. Which one do you want?’ I said, ‘give it’ — just scared, not wanting to hurt nobody. I just wanted to play the game.”
With the Sparks missing forward Candace Parker for the season because of shoulder surgery, Milton-Jones will have to continue to play strong in the paint. Los Angeles (4-12), losers of four games against Seattle, doesn’t have to worry about the Storm again until the season finale Aug. 21.
Meanwhile, Seattle (15-2) simply took an apparent lick and won its sixth consecutive game.
“We hung in there,” Agler said.
Jayda Evans: 206-464-2067 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Percentages: FG .419, FT .857. Three-point goals: 11-27, .407 (Cash 3-6, Jackson 3-6, Bird 3-9, Wright 1-2, Abrosimova 1-3, Willingham 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Team turnovers: 9 (9 PTS). Blocked shots: 1 (Wright). Turnovers: 8 (Cash 3, Abrosimova, Bird, Jackson, Little, Wright). Steals: 4 (Jackson 2, Bird, Wright). Technical fouls: Jackson, 3:49 third.
Percentages: FG .339, FT .824. Three-point goals: 6-15, .400 (Toliver 4-6, Milton-Jones 1-2, Quinn 1-3, Wisdom-Hylton 0-1, Thompson 0-3). Team rebounds: 10. Team turnovers: 12 (15 PTS). Blocked shots: 1 (Thompson). Turnovers: 9 (Milton-Jones 4, Toliver 3, Penicheiro, Thompson). Steals: 2 (Milton-Jones, Thompson). Technical fouls: None.
|Seattle||27||16||17||15 — 75|
|Los Angeles||16||17||20||9 — 62|
Attendance: 9,319 (12,947). Time: 1:54. Officials: Scott Twardoski, Denise Brooks-Clauser, Maj Forsberg.