Opals Abroad: WNBA stars back in action
Jayco Australian Opals stars Lauren Jackson and Jenna O’Hea have had little time to celebrate their Bronze Medal from the 2012 London Olympic Games, return to WNBA duties as the race to the Play-Offs heats up.
Jackson’s Seattle Storm sit in fourth position in the WNBA Western Conference, some three games behind Tully Bevilaqua’s San Antonio Silver Stars, while O’Hea’s Los Angeles Sparks have all-but conceded the Western Conference title but remain in second and have clinched a play-off berth.
Fellow Aussie star Erin Phillips has helped Indiana to second in the Eastern Conference, where they have secured a play-off berth.
It has been a slow return to full productivity for Jackson in a Seattle uniform, scoring just 4 points on her return, but a 16-point 6-rebound game in the win over New York was a quick reminder of her quality.
The Storm have been 3-2 since the three-time WNBA MVP’s return and she appears to be getting back to her best after a 23-point game in their 101-74 win over Tulsa.
O’Hea has made an instant impact on her return to the WNBA, with her efforts during the Olympic Games not going unnoticed by the Los Angeles Sparks coaching staff.
After seven minutes in her first game back against Chicago, O’Hea was handed 27 minutes against Minnesota and returned the faith with 15 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point land, and 4 assists.
Her good form continued at the start of the Sparks east coast road trip against Washington (10 points, 5 rebounds from 24 mins).
Having enjoyed a consistent season for the Fever that has seen her average 20 minutes a game, Phillips had been off the boil in recent outing, before a strong performance of 8 points and 3 assists from 20 minutes in the 89-83 win over the Phoenix Mercury.
The explosive point guard will have plenty of chances to build on that performance in the coming weeks with the backlog of games delayed for the Olympic Games to be played over the next three weeks.