Jackson Steps Up to Fill Void

Nov. 13, 2011

LAWRENCE, Kan. –When junior center Carolyn Davis was diagnosed with a stress fracture in her foot this week, Tania Jackson knew she was going to have to step up in her absence. Sunday’s season opener, which the Jayhawks won against Western Michigan, 76-64, marked the 11th start of Jackson’s career, but her first playing without Davis alongside her.

“It feels good (to play more significant minutes). Any way that I can help my team out is a good feeling to have,” said Jackson, who played 25 minutes against Western Michigan after averaging 15.6 minutes per game last season. “I didn’t try to be Carolyn (Davis) or do what she does. I just tried to play my game and contribute in any way that I could.”

With Davis leading the Jayhawks in both points and rebounds last season, there was a large void down low for the Jayhawks Sunday.

“I think Angel (Goodrich) is used to throwing those high passes to Carolyn, and she is just so long that she finishes around the rim. (She usually) finishes those easy lay-ups and gets those easy points, and that was a factor as to why we didn’t get (as many points) in transition today,” said Jackson, who registered her second career double-double Sunday.

Being without her Wooden and Wade award preseason watch list teammate didn’t seem to hinder the sophomore’s performance. She finished with career highs in both points and rebounds with 16 and 10, respectively.

“I was trying to play (center) and muscle-up down low,” said Jackson. “It certainly was a good challenge. (Western Michigan) was very aggressive with us. I just tried to do what I do best; I really like to be aggressive. When they came out and were aggressive, I liked it.”

With seven of her career-high-tying 10 rebounds coming in the second half, Jackson said the practices this week leading up to the game were very helpful to her adjustment down low.

“(Coach Henrickson) put an incentive on rebounding this week. So I think everybody really tackled on the rebounding aspect (today). We had four more rebounds as a team, so hopefully that’s what Coach was looking for.”

Late in the game, the Jayhawks were trying to hold on to their lead, and they turned to Jackson, who helped by shooting 5-for-7 from the free throw line in the last five minutes of regulation.

“Injuries happen, and you have to step up and play. I thought in big moments, Tania gave us some important finishes and found some rhythm at the free throw line,” said head coach Bonnie Henrickson, who won her seventh-straight home opener with Sunday’s victory.

With Carolyn Davis still listed as day-to-day, Coach Henrickson and the Jayhawks know that they have another capable forward who can step up in the post when they need her.

The Jayhawks’ season continues on Wednesday, Nov. 16, when they take on the Creighton Bluejays at 8 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.