Storm ride red-hot Jackson past Monarchs

SEATTLE -- Walking down the arena steps as her name blared through the speakers, Lauren Jackson wanted to hide behind one of the numerous signs that Seattle fans brought thanking the two-time MVP for staying in her adopted hometown.

"I didn't expect to get that kind of reception from everybody. It meant a lot," Jackson said. "I didn't think it was going to be any different. When I was walking down the stairs, I get pretty shy anyway, but it was pretty emotional."

Once the emotional welcome home for Jackson was out of the way, the Australian star went out and scored 25 points and led Seattle to a 80-70 win over the Sacramento Monarchs on Sunday.

A day after scoring 23 points in a season-opening victory in Sacramento, the Monarchs still didn't have any answers for slowing down Seattle's star.

Beyond her scoring, Sunday night was about Seattle's appreciation for Jackson, who was a free agent in the offseason and spurned a hard push from Phoenix to remain with the only WNBA franchise she's played for.

"Tonight was awesome," Jackson said.

With the lower bowl of KeyArena nearly full, Jackson rode the wave from her introduction and scored Seattle's first eight points as the Storm built an early double-digit advantage that Sacramento could not overcome. It was Jackson's first game in Seattle since last July 12, as Jackson went to play for Australia in the Olympics and then missed the remainder of the WNBA season following surgery to repair a right ankle injury suffered while playing in Beijing.

After Sacramento scored the first point of the game, Jackson went on a personal 8-1 run and kept it going throughout. She made nine of 16 shots and added five rebounds.

"She still wows me every now and then," Seattle teammate Sue Bird said. "She's just so good."

Bird added 15 points and eight assists, and Camille Little chipped in with 11 points for Seattle.

Kara Lawson led Sacramento (0-2) with 17 points. Laura Harper, who scored 11 points on Saturday against Seattle, was held scoreless. Nicole Powell, Sacramento's leading scorer from last season, was the only Monarchs' starter in double figures, finishing with 12.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Lawson and Powell with 3 minutes left got the Monarchs back to 72-62, but Sacramento couldn't get any closer.

"These two games for us are not the way we wanted to start the season. They're a little bit farther along than we are," Lawson said. "We have some areas for growth. The biggest thing we're focused on right now is trying to get better and stay positive. This is just two games."

Playing its home opener 10 years to the day of a WNBA team being awarded to Seattle, the Storm rode the momentum of the celebratory atmosphere and put Sacramento in chase mode from the start.