The San Antonio Silver Stars' first two trips to KeyArena haven't been particularly enjoyable summer visits to Seattle.
Their 18 point loss to the Seattle Storm just before the All-Star break and had to stage a comeback just to lose by 14 in their second visit.
And the stakes are much higher this time with the third place Storm and fourth place Silver Stars each battling for playoff position as the fifth place Los Angeles Sparks have an opportunity to challenge both of them with a much weaker schedule.
Yet things only stand to get tougher in the Silver Stars' third and final regular season visit to the Emerald City tonight (7 p.m., ESPN3): the Storm have star center Lauren Jackson back in the lineup for the first time in this season series.
In her first game back in action against the New York Liberty on Saturday, Jackson recorded 20 points and seven rebounds in just 22 minutes of play to help the Storm escape KeyArena with a 63-62 win. It's likely that the Storm will still have to go through an adjustment process as she gets closer to being in game shape and her minutes increase, but at the very least, the early returns showed that having Jackson's presence on the interior gives them a much more balanced offense.
Meanwhile, the Silver Stars are still without All-Star rookie forward Danielle Adams and being carried by All-Star guard Becky Hammon, who is among the best scoring point guards in the league, with the eighth highest scoring average (16.6 points per game) and second best assist average (5.6 per game). Hammon is complemented on the interior by forward Sophia Young, who averages 14 points per game with athleticism that makes her a difficult player to guard.