Jackson's Talent In Full Bloom

09 April 2008

When the basketball gods sat in the heavens and considered how to make the perfect player, they must have had Lauren Jackson in mind.

Tall, slim, and full of power, Jackson is the complete package on the basketball court.

Able to score from anywhere on the floor and a competent defender in the low post, the Australia international has made an awesome Spartak Moscow Region team from one year ago even better.

A world champion with the Opals in 2006, last season's WNBA MVP with Seattle, the 1.95m forward Jackson has been arguably the finest player at Spartak and in Europe in the 2007-08 campaign.

The 26-year-old has led the league in scoring at better than 23 points per game and goes into the Final Four tops in three-point shooting at 54.8% (34 of 62).

Jackson is second overall in free throw percentage (91.1%)

When considering she has superstars like USA internationals Sue Bird, Diana Taurasi and Tina Thompson and Russia national team star Tatiana Shchegoleva around her, there really should be no way to stop Jackson and that doesn't bode well for EuroLeague Women Final Four opponents UMMC Ekaterinburg.

"It's awesome," Jackson says, when asked about the embarrassment of riches in terms of playing personnel at Spartak.

"I really love it."

Jackson has been a phenomenal talent since her junior days in Australia. While still a teenager, back in 1998, she had already become a vital member of Tom Maher's Australia team that played at the FIBA World Championship for Women in Berlin.

In every year since, Jackson has gotten better.

Though her body has yelled out for a rest from time to time because of the non-stop nature of her career - she is always playing for some team, whether it's Seattle, in Australia, or the Opals or with Spartak - Jackson has continued to get better.

She is just as likely to beat a team with her three-point shooting as she is by catching the ball on the low blocks and beating a defender with a spin move.

While this year's Final Four in Brno looks as balanced as ever with Bourges, Gambrinus and UMMC Ekaterinburg all in good form, it really is hard to see any of them stopping a Spartak team that now has Jackson.

"We're quietly confident that we're going to go out there to give it our best and we think our best is good enough to win," Jackson says.

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