Storm star Lauren Jackson talks about her thumb injury, her crush on actor Hugh Jackman, and a different kind of test from coach Brian Agler.

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Today, Lauren Jackson talks with Seattle Times Sports Editor Don Shelton about her injured thumb, her secret crush on Hugh Jackman, and a different kind of test from coach Brian Agler.

Question: What hurts worse, your injured thumb or the loss Sunday?

Lauren Jackson: The loss hurt, but I think in the long run it was a good one for us to lose because we had to regroup and talk about how we can turn things around. Heading into the playoffs, we want to be playing as well as we possibly can be and there is nothing like a defeat to gear us up mentally to get back out there and be the best. We know the standard that we want to be playing at and I think all the girls are aware that it’s time to step it up a level.

Q: How serious is the injury?

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LJ: My hand is a bit bruised and ugly; I have a fairly decent sprain in the joint in my thumb and a partially torn ligament. There are no plans to sit out. It will just be heavily taped, and we just hope day by day it gets better. The worst thing about it is it makes it very difficult to do my hair!

Q: Have you ever met any of the big stars from Australia — Hugh Jackman, Nicole Kidman, Keith Urban?

LJ: I’ve never met them. I wish I could! They’re beautiful people, kind of like my idols, really beautiful. I wish I could meet Hugh. If he wasn’t married, I’d go after him in a second (laughs). He’s the hottest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. So good-looking, charming, talented. Too bad he’s married.

Q: Did it ever occur to you that people might look at you the same way you look at Hugh Jackman or one of those stars?

A: Oh, no, no, no! Not true. I don’t think of myself that way. I’m not that great, mate.

Now, Hugh Jackman, I would die if I met Hugh Jackman. I’d just die. That would be it for me. … He’s hotness on a stick!

Q: What’s your latest challenge in school?

LJ: I’ve got two exams. I’ve got an online exam I have to do and after that I’m getting an exam sent over here.

Q: I’ve heard someone you pretty know well (coach Brian Agler) will be overseeing that exam. True?

LJ: It’s weird, definitely weird. You need to have someone in authority and someone that’s trustworthy. He’s my coach. I said, “Brian, can you watch me do my exam?” He said, “Sure, what do I have to do? I was like, “Well, you just have to sit there for two hours and make sure I don’t cheat.” And that was the conversation.

Q: What’s the last grade you got an assignment?

LJ: My last two assignments I sent in, I got good ones. We get distinctions, credits, pass. (Pauses, then smiles.) I got distinctions. I did really, really well.

Q: What makes you prouder, all the success you’ve had with the Storm or those distinctions?

LJ: When I was younger, I was the worst student. I always thought I couldn’t comprehend things. I guess I didn’t have a lot of faith in my ability to go to school. But I never focused on it. But I’ve been studying for four or five years now, and you know, the better the grades are, the happier I am with myself. It’s a different kind of satisfaction. The first couple of years I definitely struggled. But the more I do, the better I’m getting at it. It’s a different satisfaction. You know, it’s something I’d never thought I’d be able to do. Basketball’s my love, it’s my passion. It’s easy to be good at something you love. But with school, I had to push myself initially, and it’s something I’m growing to really love.

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