Jackson signs to play 13 Aussie games

Updated: November 24, 2009, 11:16 PM ET
Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia -- Seattle Storm center Lauren Jackson will play out the Australian season for the Canberra Capitals in the Women's National Basketball League.

Jackson's international clearance arrived in Canberra on Wednesday, only hours before a midseason deadline after which WNBL teams cannot register new players.

Jackson, 27, signed a maximum 13-match contract worth a reported $185,000 after becoming available when she opted out of a two-year deal with her former Russian team Spartak Moscow in the wake of the assassination of team owner Shabtai von Kalmanovich.

A four-time MVP in Australia's WNBL, Jackson is recuperating from a stress fracture in her lower back. She has won two MVP awards with the Storm in the WNBA.

"This is terrific news for the WNBL and basketball," Basketball Australia chief executive Larry Sengstock said. "It is a rare chance for basketball fans to see the best player in the world playing in our WNBL and we urge the people of Australia to take that opportunity.

"We have a number of Olympians in the league already this year and the competition has been first class, but adding Lauren to the mix will undoubtedly be a huge boost."

Jackson played 154 WNBL games between her rookie year with the Australian Institute of Sport in 1998 and the 2006 Grand Final, in which she led Canberra to victory. She has five WNBL titles, four with Canberra and one with the AIS.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press