Jackson, whose presence Friday nearly dwarfed the night due to video tributes and highlight clips during timeouts, had her No. 15 jersey retired after the game.
Every timeout during the Storm’s 80-51 win over Washington on Friday at KeyArena was about former player Lauren Jackson, whose No. 15 jersey was retired.
Jackson, who led the Storm to two WNBA championships in her 12 seasons, hasn’t been in Seattle since her final season in 2012. A 6-foot-6 center, she officially retired from basketball in March. Her presence Friday nearly dwarfed the night due to video tributes and highlight clips during timeouts.
When the actual game was played, however, second-year guard Jewell Loyd helped the current Storm captivate the announced crowd of 9,686.
“It’s huge,” Loyd said of the win, which is just the team’s second in its past six outings. “Obviously having Lauren here made it a statement game and that just helped us in getting our momentum going for this next stretch.”
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Seattle plays three more games, two at home, before the WNBA goes on a monthlong hiatus for the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Loyd scored 14 of her game-high 26 points in the first quarter to get the on-court show started. Seattle stretched a 26-15 first-quarter advantage to 18 points, closing the half up 41-23.
The Storm’s defense held the Mystics to 25.7 percent shooting (9 of 35) from the field in the half. Washington was outscored 12-6 inside the paint and seven turnovers.
The Mystics (9-13) were led by 16 points from Belgian center Emma Meesseman. Friday was Washington’s fifth consecutive loss.
“We were awful and they were really good,” Mystics coach Mike Thibault said. “We could see it coming with the momentum after the first quarter. Watching Seattle on tape the last couple of games, we could tell they’re getting better and they took it out on us.”
Loyd brought the crowd — many wearing “15 Jackson” T-shirts — to its feet with 16.6 seconds left in the third quarter with her signature alley-oop layin. The bucket off a tip pass from rookie Breanna Stewart gave the Storm a 65-42 lead.
Stewart, a 6-4 forward, finished with 10 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.
Seattle (8-13) hosts Chicago (9-12) on Sunday. The Sky has won its past two games.
“It was a good mood-setter,” Storm point guard Sue Bird said of the win, which preceded Jackson’s actual unveiling of her retired jersey in a postgame ceremony. “I actually said to Jewell, ‘Great job today!’ And in a more serious moment, I was talking about her composure and she said, ‘Yeah, I guess Lauren brought it out of me.’ Everyone understood what this day was.”