Kansas Jayhawks women's basketball star selected in second round of WNBA Draft

A former KU women's basketball star will play at the next level
Kansas super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson (1) celebrates a lead against Iowa State
Kansas super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson (1) celebrates a lead against Iowa State / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

One of the most storied players in recent Kansas women's basketball history is going on to play at the next level. Former Jayhawks star center Taiyanna Jackson was selected 19th overall by the Connecticut Sun in the second round of the WNBA Draft.

Jackson was terrific during her time in Lawrence after transferring over from Trinity Valley Community College. Across her three campaigns at KU, she averaged 12.4 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks in 99 games. She averaged a career-high 15.2 points and 12.7 rebounds in 2022-23 and later returned for a super senior season.

Kansas HC Brandon Schneider has enjoyed his most successful years since Jackson became a Jayhawk. After making its first NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years, KU reached the Round of 32 in 2021-22 thanks to her contributions. She led them to March Madness again this past year and was the catalyst to the program's first-ever WNIT championship last season.

Among her other achievements, such as being a two-time All-Big 12 Team player and three-time Big 12 All-Defense selection, Jackson is the current all-time blocks leader in KU history. She passed Lisa Tate on the list in February and finished her Jayhawk career with 301 blocks.

Now that she is in the WNBA, Jackson will compete on the Sun, who finished last season with a 27-13 record. The 6-foot-6 center could serve as a formidable paint presence and shot-blocker for her new squad, even as a first-year player.

Here is how ESPN expert Charlie Creme analyzed the draft pick.

"The Sun have size in Olivia Nelson-Ododa and Brionna Jones but don't have the kind of rim protection that the 6-foot-6 Jackson can bring. She was also a double-figure rebounder her final two seasons at Kansas. With plenty of offensive talent, the Sun might be able to wait on that part of Jackson's game to develop."

Charlie Creme, ESPN

While the Jayhawks will certainly miss seniors like Jackson, Zakiyah Franklin, and Holly Kersgeiter, freshman phenom S'Mya Nichols should lead the team to another successful season in 2024-25.