It was a block party in Lawrence, Kansas, last night when the Houston Cougars played the Kansas Jayhawks women's basketball team. Brandon Schneider and his group moved to 6-6 in conference play with a 69-52 victory behind a monster performance from super senior Taiyanna Jackson.
Days after being named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List, Jackson had one of the most impressive outings of her collegiate career. The 6-foot-6 center scored 25 points, grabbed 15 rebounds, and nearly put together a triple-double with nine blocks.
Jackson didn't only tie the KU women's record for shots sent back in a single game — her ninth rejection of the night made her the sole leader of all-time blocks in a Jayhawk uniform. Passing Lisa Tate, her 270 (and counting) blocks will sit at the top of Kansas history books for years to come.
The unanimous Preseason All-Big 12 Team selection played two years at community college before committing to Kansas, so she is out of eligibility after the 2023-24 season despite playing just three campaigns at KU. Her Division I career totals are 1,109 points, 931 rebounds, and 270 blocks, and she is averaging 13.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks on the season.
Aside from the stellar game for Jackson, it was a much-needed win for Kansas. Winners of four of the past five games, the Jayhawks sit at .500 in conference play and are looking to make a case to the NCAA Tournament committee why they deserve a spot despite a slow start to the season.
Sitting at 13-10 with several bad losses, this is not what fans had in mind for a team that was voted third in the Big 12 preseason coaches poll. Still, the performances of players like Jackson and highly touted S'Mya Nichols have made it a fun year nonetheless.