SEATTLE (AP) -- When superstar Lauren Jackson limped off the
court with a sprained ankle, all the momentum drained from
Seattle's offensive surge.
Yet the Storm held on for their third straight win.
Iziane Castro Marques scored a career-high 20 points and Betty
Lennox added 18, leading Seattle to an 87-78 win over the New York
Liberty on Tuesday night.
Jackson had 10 points and five rebounds, but the Australian
standout -- the WNBA's MVP in 2003 -- left with 7:19 to play with a
sprained right ankle. She had surgery on that ankle before the
season, but the sprain was considered unrelated.
"There's a little bit of pain right now, a little in the ankle
and the heel," Jackson said. "I've just got to wait and see. It's
hard. I've had so much work done on my ankle and everything's so
tight in there."
She's listed as day-to-day and will be re-examined Wednesday.
Jackson bumped into New York's Catherine Kraayeveld from behind
as the Liberty rookie cut through the lane. Jackson jammed her foot
into the court and immediately dropped, wincing as she scooted to
"I just rolled it," she said. "It's a sprain, but it's just
too early to say anything."
Janelle Burse had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Seattle. The
Storm led by as many as 22 points in the second half and 68-48 when
Jackson left, surviving a late charge when the Liberty capitalized
on her absence.
"Lauren is one of our best fighters," Storm coach Anne Donovan
said. "She sets a real solid tone for us. We need to maintain
that. With or without Lauren, we need to be fighters."
New York cut the margin to 71-64 with 4:22 remaining after
3-pointers by Erin Thorn and Becky Hammon, part of a 22-6 burst
that pulled the Liberty into contention in the closing minutes.
"We didn't quit and we fought back," New York coach Pat Coyle
said. "We stuck together. I thought our bench came in and helped
us. We have to have everybody contributing, and I thought they did
a nice job."
Seattle's Suzy Batkovic, a teammate of Jackson's on the
Australian Olympic team, made a big 3-pointer at the other end to
boost the Storm's lead to 74-64. She also made two free throws and
made a layup for a 78-66 lead with 2:10 to go.
New York had to foul, and Sue Bird, Lennox and Burse combined to
shoot 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in the final minute to seal
"One good thing about not playing a good game, it keeps us in
check," Bird said. "You never want to get too cocky or too
confident about anything. When our team plays like we have
something to prove, that's when we play our best."
Hammon led the Liberty with 18 points, while Vickie Johnson and
Shameka Christon each scored 15. Elena Baranova had 11 and Crystal
It was a huge night for Castro Marques, a third-year player who
started and was the No. 2 scorer behind WNBA veteran Janeth Arcain
on the Brazilian team that played at the Athens Olympics.
"I was talking to coach Donovan the other day," Castro Marques
said. "Now, I know what she wants from me. I'm comfortable with my
teammates and comfortable in the system and now I can just play my
game. I know what she wants."
The Storm used a 17-0 run to blow things open midway through the
first half. Marques scored six in that burst, with Lennox adding
four and Bird swishing a 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 41-20
with 3:28 before halftime.
"I called two timeouts but we never recovered from it," Coyle
said. "Seattle just came out of a timeout and came after us. We
lost our poise."