Seattle 84, Los Angeles 72
Storm Pull Away Late, Stop Sparks in Game 1
SEATTLE, August 18, 2006 (Ticker) -- Lauren Jackson and the Seattle Storm finished the way they started: strong.
Jackson scored 22 points and Janell Burse added 17 as the Storm posted an 84-72 victory over the Los Angeles Sparks in Game One of the Western Conference semifinals.
Los Angeles pulled within 70-66 with 2:27 left on two foul shots by Lisa Leslie. But Iziane Castro Marques answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession and Jackson converted a three-point play, pushing the lead back to double digits with 1:43 remaining.
"I think we really stepped us a a team," Jackson said. "It was so nice to be able to play with Janell, so they can't double-team off her."
"This is a very good team," Storm guard Sue Bird said. "I wouldn't expect them to roll over and die, not in the playoffs. "We knew they had a run in them and unfortunately it went longer than we would've liked but we knew we had a run of our own."
Leslie finished with 15 points, but only scored two in the final period and Chamique Holdsclaw added 13 for the Sparks, who suffered their fourth straight loss on the road dating to the regular season.
Jackson scored seven points in a game-opening 15-4 run. Seattle held a 42-36 advantage at the break.
Game 2 is Sunday in Los Angeles.
"I thought we played good in spurts, but there are a few things we need to tweak, obviously, against the zone," Leslie said. "Defensively, too, but overall I thought we played a decent basketball game."