WNBA Player Detained In Israel

Friday, April 27th 2007, 12:38 pm
By: News On 6

JERUSALEM (AP) _ WNBA player Deanna Jackson was arrested on an assault charge after slugging an opposing player in a parking lot following a game, and will not be allowed to leave Israel until after the Chicago Sky's preseason opener.

Jackson, a 6-foot-2 forward who averaged 6 points a game last season for the Sky, spent this winter playing for Anda Ramat Hasharon of the Israeli league.

She was arrested Wednesday night after attacking Ina Gourevitch, an Elitzur Ramle guard, following the league championship game won 81-68 by Ramle. In the closing minutes of the game, Jackson and Gourevitch got into a skirmish and shouted insults at each other.

Police said the clash spilled into the parking lot, where Jackson sought out Gourevitch and punched her, breaking her nose.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the 27-year-old Jackson was arrested and her passport was confiscated. She had been slated to leave Israel the following morning to join the Sky, whose first preseason game is Wednesday at home against Phoenix.

The Chicago Sky announced Friday that Jackson has been suspended indefinitely.

``We are shocked and embarrassed by this incident, especially since it is completely out of character for Deanna,'' team owner Michael Alter said in a statement. ``But it has no place in the WNBA or the Chicago Sky.''

Alter said team officials ``spoke with Deanna's agent yesterday, who confirmed that she struck Gurevich after a game.''

Jackson will have to stay in Israel until at least May 3, when she next will appear in court. She also faces a lawsuit filed Thursday by Gourevitch, who is seeking nearly $20,000 in damages.

In a statement released by her Israeli team, Jackson apologized for the incident.

``I did not mean to harm Ina Gourevitch and I apologize to her,'' she said. ``I've never acted this way. It's uncharacteristic of me and I hope that it is now behind me.''

Ramle chairman Shmulik Levkovitz said the incident tarnished the championship game and the entire season.

``It leaves a bad taste in the mouth,'' he said. ``With all the competitiveness of the game, we have never had any violence before. This was just so uncalled for.''

Jackson is one of 17 WNBA players who spent the winter in Israel. WNBA salaries for the three-month season range from about $31,000 to $90,000, so even top players travel the world each winter in search of extra cash. In Israel, top American players make around $80,000 a season.