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July 31, 2010 at 2:00 PM

Mailbag: Lauren Jackson’s free throw shooting ridiculous?

SeattleStorm.pngThere was a recent post regarding Storm F Lauren Jackson’s free throw percentage, calling the mark “ridiculous.” Of course the comment was made before Jackson, the team’s leading scorer (21.9), went 6 of 9 against Phoenix on Tuesday. Still, many players would like that clip, too.
Jackson is shooting 91.4 percent from the FT line this season. Yet, it’s not the best in the WNBA or even Jackson’s career-high. San Antonio PG Becky Hammon is closer to perfect from the line at a league-leading 97.1 percent. Jackson, a 6 foot 5 post, has attempted 139 FTs compared to Hammon’s 59 this season, however.
Still, Jackson’s best season shooting the free shots was in 2008 with a 93.4 percent showing (99 of 106). That was before the ankle and back injuries, so it’s impressive how the native Australian is working her way back to pre-injury numbers.
How did she do it? Jackson won’t share the specific nuances but since she eliminated all the fancy stuff a lot of players tend to do before taking the shot, she did confirm it’s primarily a mental adjustment – including breathing.
She worked with Aussie Ed Palubinskas, who also trained Shaquille O’Neal. Shaq isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but the time worked for others and Jackson, who knew she’d be hacked as part of opponents’ defense against her, so she needed to be prepared to shoot while tired and bruised.
“I just changed it a little bit,” said Jackson, who after rehabilitating from stress fractures in her lower back remained in Canberra to play with her hometown team during the WNBA offseason. “I stood at the free throw line and practiced a new technique for basically six months.”
Jackson is a career 84.1 percent shooter from the FT line.

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