Lauren Jackson to focus on Olympics

SYDNEY -- Reigning WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson will skip the first half of the 2012 WNBA season to focus on training with the Australian national team in preparation for the London Olympics.

Jackson said Tuesday she had reached an arrangement with the Storm that would allow her to spend May, June and July 2012 in Australia preparing for the Olympics. The Australian women's team, including Jackson, won the silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Games.

Basketball Australia said it hoped other Australian players in the WNBA would follow Jackson's lead in the coming weeks.

In a statement released through Basketball Australia, Jackson said she was excited about having Australia's Games preparation as "my only priority and commitment" in early 2012.

Jackson will rejoin the Storm after the Olympics, which are scheduled to end Aug. 11.

Jackson has three Olympic silver medals playing for Australia, losing all three times to the United States in the gold-medal game.

Jackson has played her entire WNBA career for Seattle and last season led the Storm to a second league title. She is also a three-time league MVP.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.