Taking The World By Storm - Lauren Jackson
Jackson is a veteran of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where her international exposure grew exponentially. Jackson led the Australian "Price Attack" Opals in scoring (15.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.4 rpg) and had 20 points and 13 rebounds against the U.S. team in the final as Australia won a silver medal, its best finish ever. A little more than six months later, the Storm made Jackson its first pick overall of the 2001 WNBA Draft. At age 16, Jackson became the youngest member ever of the Australian national team in 1997.
Aug. 28 - It was a disappointing finish for Jackson and her Australian teammates. The Opals battled the U.S. tougher than they had four years earlier, and led by as many as four in the third quarter, but the USA's depth proved to be too much to overcome in the fourth quarter, and the Americans prevailed 74-63. Jackson struggled, scoring 12 points and pulling down 16 rebounds but shooting just 4-for-16 from the field.
Aug. 27 - Australia set up a rematch of the 2000 gold-medal game with an 88-75 victory over Brazil. Leading most of the way, the Opals broke the game open in the fourth quarter and cruised to victory. Jackson started slowly, but finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds to lead Australia.
Aug. 25 - The Tall Ferns of New Zealand were no match for Jackson and Australia. Jackson alone played New Zealand even on the scoreboard in the first quarter, and the Opals took an early double-digit lead and continued to build it for a crushing 94-55 win. Jackson finished with 28 points and nine rebounds despite playing just 23 minutes.
Aug. 22 - It was a strong day for both Jackson and Australia on Sunday. With 24 points against Brazil, she finished as the leading scorer of group play at 23.4 points per game. At the same time, Australia's 84-66 victory finished off a 5-0 performance against Group A and secured the Opals first place in the group. They open single-elimination play Wednesday against New Zealand.
Aug. 20 - Australia improved to 4-0 by crushing host Greece 77-40. Jackson continued her Olympics dominance, scoring 20 points and pulling down 12 rebounds in 28 minutes of action as Australia remained one of two unbeaten teams in group play.
Aug. 18 - Jackson dominated smaller Japanese defenders, scoring 31 points (on 14-for-21 shooting), grabbing nine boards and blocking four shots in just 21 minutes of action. Behind Jackson, Australia cruised to a 97-78 victory that wasn't even that close, moving to 3-0.
Aug. 16 - Despite struggling with her shot, Jackson still had 15 points and 10 rebounds against Russia. It was Opals teammate and WNBA rival Penny Taylor, however, that scored 26 points to lead Australia to an impressive 75-56 win over the Russians.
Aug. 14 - Jackson was dominant as Australia opened up Olympics play, scoring 27 points in 28 minutes against Nigeria. Australia led by 18 after three quarters and cruised to an 85-73 win.
Aug. 8 - The Opals got a surprisingly strong test from China in the finals of the FIBA Women's Diamond Ball tournament, but came from behind in the fourth quarter to win, 74-70. Once again, Jackson posted game highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds, finishing the tournament with averages of 22.7 points and 11.7 boards. Australia finished 3-0 and won the tournament.
Aug. 7 - Playing the host Greeks in the second game of the Diamond Ball tournament, Australia was threatened at times, but ended up running away with a 75-57 win. Jackson was as dominant as ever, finishing with 24 points and 14 rebounds.
Aug. 6 - Joining her Opals teammates for the first time this summer, Jackson looked at home, scoring 20 points and grabbing eight rebounds in just over 20 minutes of action against an overmatched South Korean squad. Australia cruised to an 84-59 victory.
Aug. 6 - More Experienced Jackson Returns to Olympics
Aug. 13 - Stage set for Jackson, The Age
Aug. 13 - Lauren Jackson vs. Sue Bird: When teammates collide, The News Tribune
Aug. 11 - Storm trio fired up for Athens
Aug. 10 - Transition from teammates to rivals an easy game for Storm, Seattle Times
Aug. 3 - It's Country First, Mate, Los Angeles Times
Aug. 1 - Teammates to enemies, The News Tribune
Jul. 22 - Jackson shooting for gold, USA Today
Jun. 23 - Jackson, teamwork key to potential Australian gold, NBCSports.com
Ambassadors of the Game: Lauren Jackson, WNBA.com
"I think we're definitely closer to a gold medal than we were in 2000. Right before the gold-medal game, one of my teammates said, 'Well at least we'll get a silver since we're playing America.' And I'm thinking, why is there this wall between Australia and America?
"I've learned there's this aura about Americans with the rest of the world. But I think, with Penny Taylor and myself, and others who have played [in the WNBA], that's been demystified a bit. Especially with the younger players on our team who haven't been part of other Olympic teams. I'm doing my best to try and break that wall down for them." (8/3, Los Angeles Times)
On playing against Bird:
"I've never played with a better point guard. But you have to get used to playing with other teammates. I guess it's sport, really. I mean, what if one of us got traded? We'd be against each other all the time." (8/1)
"I told Anne if we beat the US Iím not coming back. Iíll need a couple of days with my Australian mates, show my medal to the home folks and then come back. If I could just do that, get off the plane and wave it and then get back on the plane and come here." (8/1)
"I think that the Olympics are, for a lot of people, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It's something that I, personally, would never take for granted. The WNBA you can always come back next year, whatever, but the Olympics you're representing your country and the people who have supported you your whole life, so it's very important." (7/29)
"I really do not know what to expect this year. I've heard a lot of mixed things about it. I'm probably looking forward to the basketball most. I'm not sure about the travel because the first Olympics I participated in, in Sydney, was so close to home for me. It is definitely going to be tough coming straight out of the middle of the WNBA season, but hopefully my focus will be with the Australian team when I'm over there and I know that we are going to win a gold medal." (WNBA.com)
"Sue is a great point guard. She is fearless. Iíve seen her go out there and just ball it up every time. I am going to laugh when I have to play against her. Iíll probably pass her the ball. No, I wonít. Sheíll probably pass me the ball. I canít wait. I am really looking forward to it." (WNBA.com)