Lauren Jackson Talks About Her Record-Breaking Player of the Week Honor, Playing Outdoors and the Storm's Season

Lauren Jackson is determined as ever to bring a championship home to Seattle
D. Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty Images This week you passed Lisa Leslie for most Player of the Week honors in the history of the WNBA with 16. Has the magnitude of that accomplishment set in yet?

Lauren Jackson: Not really. I think Lisa was just such a great player. In terms of what Iíve done this year, I think my teammates have been such a huge influence on that. I wish I could give it to my teammates, you know? I did a little digging and found that your first Player of the Week honor came on June 8, 2003 - almost exactly seven years to the day in which you claimed your 16th. At the time did you ever think you'd win 15 more?

LJ: I really havenít even thought about it. I guess the season is just so long, in terms of you playing so many games, that you donít really think about how youíre playing individually. Itís more about getting the wins and then trying to keep improving with the team and just making sure you donít fall behind because thereís so many good teams. You just really focus on winning games and not individual awards. I also found that five of your 16 came in 2007 - the same year you won your second MVP Trophy. Do you think you have at least another three Player of the Week nods in you for this season?

LJ: (laughs) Oh I have no idea. The last two years with the injuries and everything like that, what I really want for this team right now is a championship more than anything. If I play well individually, thatís great, but itís not something that Iím going to focus on. I really canít. I think that would take away from what weíre trying to do as a team. We have great players who can step up every night. Like Swin [Cash], Tanisha [Wright], Camille [Little], theyíve already shown that. They have that potential. I guess as long as weíre winning, Iíll be happy. Let's talk a bit about the team. The Storm is off to one of the franchise's best starts at 8-1. What's the general vibe in the locker room right now?

LJ: Nobodyís complacent. Nobodyís going in there saying, ďOh weíre going to win,Ē or anything like that. We know we need to get better. We know that teams are just sort of wanting to beat us, like we are with every other team. Thereís no complacency. Everyoneís very aware that we need to keep getting better. We need to keep improving and focus on our defense because thatís sort of the one thing that helps our offense go.

No matter how many points the Storm racks up, defense remains an integral part of the team's success
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE/Getty Images You say focus on defense, but the other day you guys lit up Phoenix for a season-best 97 points. Seeing as how the Mercury won it all last season, are you using that game as a measuring stick to just how good the Storm is playing right now?

LJ: Not really. (laughs) Iíve said the last few interviews that weíre very aware that itís very early in the season. There are going to be games like that that we play really, really well. And then thereís going to be games like when we played against Chicago where nothing went right for us. We didnít have any energy. We didnít play good defense, good offense. It was just a really bad game. And being a sport, that will happen occasionally. I think when it comes to the 25th game or the 26th game and weíre still playing games and weíre head and shoulders better than other teams, I think that Iíll be able to sort of feel more relaxed in saying that a game like that is sort of where we want to be. But I think right now itís too early in the season to predict how weíre going to play at the end. We just have to keep getting better in practice and hope that it goes our way. Weíve had injuries, obviously, myself in particular. Just making sure that we look after ourselves and get through the next 26 games healthy. But you also canít really talk down the fact that an 8-1 start is a pretty good way to start off the season, you know?

LJ: Yeah it is, itís a great way to start the season. Thereís no doubt about it. But you know what? Itís funny. It just changes your whole attitude towards playing and going to training and everything. Iíve been on the team in Seattle when we havenít won any games. My first year and my second year, my first two in particular, was hard. We didnít really win at all. It definitely changes your mentality when youíre winning. Well one of those wins came outdoors, which is not something a lot of teams can say. Actually youíre the only team that can say that for this season. What was that game like? It sure was interesting to watch.

LJ: It was awesome. I think that playing in L.A., California, I guess, it was a dream come true really. When I was younger and had a dream about playing in the WNBA and everything like that, youíd never really imagine that youíd do it and then to be able to play outdoors in Los Angeles is something kind of unheard of. Itís a pretty special thing. And Iím really glad we won. You didnít have to worry about dealing with the elements either. It wasnít windy, it wasnít rainy and it wasnít even all that hot either. But I remember hearing on the broadcast that there was some dust on the court before the game. Was that an issue at all?

LJ: It was a little bit slippery initially but I donít think it was anything too severe. It was just a great atmosphere. I donít think you can emulate that playing indoors. Itís just something that, playing outside, was special. I think that there was a fire not too far away or something that caused a bit of smoke and stuff but it wasnít really a factor in how we played or how they played or anything like that. Since winning in 2004, the Storm has been unable to get past the first round in five consecutive seasons. What's it going to take to not just get past the first round, but also win it all in 2010?

LJ: Obviously we need to play really well and keeping that up. Keep working on little things with our defense and stuff like that. I think thereís an element of luck to it as well. I really do. I think the stars kind of have to align to win a championship because weíve had luck two or three years. Weíve had a pretty good team. One and two in the Western Conference and then get hit with injuries. That has definitely not helped us in the postseason. So I think in terms of that, we have to make sure that weíre staying healthy and then I really think we can really achieve anything. Who knows what will happen if we go in there 100 percent healthy into the playoffs? I think that would be scary for a lot of people if we were completely healthy going into the playoffs.