Lauren Jackson continues to dominate in the NBL1 East, making her mark once more as she helped the Albury-Wodonga Bandits to a 97-80 win over the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles.
It was Jackson’s first home game in 16 years and the five-time WNBL champion stunned with 31 points and 24 rebounds from just 29 minutes.
Making her masterclass only more fitting was the fact Jackson was playing for the Bandits at their aptly-named home Lauren Jackson Sports Center.
“So special to play at home for our home !! Thank you Albury Wodonga for coming out, ”Jackson posted on Twitter.
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It followed a stunning return to the court for Jackson last weekend, where she scored 21 points, including five-three pointers, to go with five rebounds and a block.
On that occasion, the 40-year-old helped Albury Wodonga to a 78-61 win in what was her first game back after retiring from basketball due to chronic knee injuries.
Jackson announced her return to the sport back in February, with prominent basketball reporter
Megan Hustwaite revealing the Australian basketball great was primed for a comeback.
“It stems from a friend asking if she would consider playing again. She’s had awful troubles with her knees that led to her retirement before the Rio Olympics in 2016, “Hutswaite said.
“She spoke about the medicinal cannabis trial that she did and it had a huge positive effect on her body. She’s got in the gym and back on the court, she’s lost 17kg and she’s looking terrific and she’s feeling great.
“She’s been doing some intense training for about 13 weeks, six days a week, while working part-time for Basketball Australia and looking after her two babies.
“It got to this point where signed with Albury. She’s going to see how she goes because as she said, she hasn’t played for so long. She’s not looking forward to Opals at this stage but she needs to see how she goes in NBL1.
“If anyone can do this, it’s Lauren. Whether it’s just for Albury Wodonga in the NBL1 or whether she continues her stunning comeback and plays for Australia again later this year (who knows). “
Albury Wodonga Bandits President Luke Smith said at the time that he and the club were overjoyed to welcome Jackson back and she has more than exceeded expectations.
“We’re just over the moon that Lauren’s playing for her hometown and her home club,” Smith said.
“It’s huge for the Albury Wodonga Bandits and for the Albury Wodonga community.
“I think it’s going to be a really big year and we’re really looking forward to her playing in a stadium named after herself and in front of her friends, family and her two boys.
“They’re at the age where they’ll be able to remember seeing their mum play, not just basketball, but basketball at home too.”