Originally written on Fox Sports  |  Last updated 11/4/14

SEATTLE - OCTOBER 12: Lauren Jackson #15 of the Seattle Storm and Taj McWilliams-Franklin #11 of the Connecticut Sun battle for position in Game three of the WNBA Finals at Key Arena on October 12, 2004 in Seattle, Washington. The Storm won 74-60 and won the WNBA Championship series 2-1. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
The Seattle Storm got only 13 games from three-time MVP Lauren Jackson last season while the Los Angeles Sparks received 17 from 2008 MVP Candace Parker. The Storm will have to deal with another extended absence by Jackson to start 2012 while Parker appears healthy for perhaps the first time since that MVP campaign as these Western Conference rivals meet Friday night in Seattle in a marquee WNBA season opener. Jackson played her fewest games with the Storm last year due to hip surgery. She was already struggling, shooting 39.6 percent for her lowest mark since her rookie season in 2001. The Storm won't have the superstar forward available until after the London Olympics. That puts the onus on Sue Bird to shoulder more of the load, although the point guard doesn't agree with that notion. "It's not me going into each game like I have to be different because Lauren is here or she isn't," said Bird, who averaged a career-high 14.7 points in 2011. "It just kind of happens. It's the n...

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