Kansas women's basketball: Taiyanna Jackson continuing to thrive for Jayhawks

Taiyanna Jackson's skill set as a low-post scorer and an excellent defender has made her a standout player for the Kansas Jayhawks, contributing to their success on both ends of the floor.

Kansas super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson (1) poses during media day inside Allen Fieldhouse
Kansas super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson (1) poses during media day inside Allen Fieldhouse / Evert Nelson/The Capital-Journal / USA

The Kansas Jayhawks should be on everyone’s women's college basketball radar. No, they aren’t a ranked team ... yet ... but they are a program that has hit their stride as the season progressed. One of the Jayhawks’ x factors has been senior center, Taiyanna Jackson, who continues to show her versatility on both ends of the floor. 

It’s been an interesting journey for Jackson. Over the years, she has worked her way to becoming one of the more talented prospects in the country. Jackson’s journey through basketball is unique as she spent her first two years playing college basketball at Trinity Valley Community College. Luckily, she used those two years to maximize her game and grew as a leader on both ends of the floor. As Jackson continued to shine, an opportunity opened for her to play at the next level for Kansas. 

Since Jackson joined Kansas, she’s been a fan favorite on campus. During her first two seasons, she earned several accolades including being a two-time All-Big 12 Defensive team selection, unanimous All-Big 12 first team last season, and also led Kansas to an NIT Championship. Jackson has continued to grow as a member of the Jayhawks and her impact has shown on and off the floor. Before her arrival, Kanas finished the 2020-21 season with a 7-18 record. In the last two seasons, they’ve finished at least top seven in the Big 12.

What makes Taiyanna Jackson a special player for the Kansas Jayhawks?

Well, let’s start with the fact that she’s a terrific low-post scorer. Jackson establishes herself well on the block with good positioning to catch entry passes. Once she gets positioned, she can score in a multitude of ways. Jackson has tremendous footwork and shows the ability to spin baseline to finish at the rim. She’s also a great scorer inside when defenders are fronting her which gives her an easy opportunity for an easy lay-in. 

Not only is Jackson good at scoring on the block but also shows her versatility in other ways. For a center, she’s a very good ball-handler and on several occasions can lead the fastbreak. With her quickness and athleticism, Jackson is very good at getting downhill and finishing at the rim. Jackson also shows to be a great pick-and-roll partner as she connects with her teammates perfectly when attacking the rim. 

As Jackson shows to be a dynamic offensive weapon, she is just as dangerous defensively. Inside the paint is her home and she looks to prevent any easy opportunities. Jackson is a terrific communicator on that end of the floor as she observes how the opposing team’s offense is being set.

What also makes Jackson dynamic on defense is her active hands as she can get into the passing lanes and force turnovers. Jackson’s defensive impact has shown in the numbers as she finished top 10 in blocks each of the last two seasons. 

Jackson’s impact has continued to elevate as the season progresses. The goal for Kansas was to capitalize off of their NIT championship. Could there be an opportunity to make the NCAA Tournament? That is the ultimate goal for head coach Brandon Schneider and his team. 

Through eight games, Jackson has averaged 13.6 points per game along with 9.8 rebounds, 2.6 blocks, and 1.4 steals. The Jayhawks got off to a slow start, beginning the season 3-3 after their first six games. However, the team has found their footing. Offensively, they’ve been excellent at maximizing everyone’s value and the same effort has resulted on the defensive end as well. 

Jackson has continued to have her shining moments during her third and final season with Kansas. She's recorded five double-doubles in eight games and continues to be a dominant force under the glass. A game that stands out for Jackson in the early season is her 22-point 13-rebound performance in a win against Southeastern Louisiana. Her energy has been contagious in the locker room as it’s allowed her teammates to shine on the floor as well. 

There’s still plenty of basketball to be played. As conference play is underway, the Kansas Jayhawks must continue to assert themselves as one of the best in the Big 12. Taiyanna Jackson’s goal is to close her college career on a good note. As she’s displayed dominance since wearing a Kansas uniform, she wants to continue to add to their success before the season ends.