🏀 Taiyanna Jackson Named to Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas senior center Taiyanna Jackson is one of 15 players who have been named to the 2023 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. The watch list was announced Tuesday by the Naismith Awards.

The award, which has been presented since 2018, goes to the most outstanding women’s defensive basketball player who achieves tremendous on-court success. The top 10 will be announced Feb. 27 and the four finalists will be announced March 13. Jackson is one of three centers on the watch list and the lone player from the Big 12 named.

Jackson has developed into one of the top players in the Big 12 this season, excelling at both ends of the floor. She leads the conference and ranks third nationally with 54 blocked shots, while ranking fifth in the country in field goal percentage (64.9) and rebounds per game (12.7). Jackson has recorded a league-leading 12 double-doubles, including five in the first seven conference games. She has had at least two blocked shots in 15 games this season, including 10 games with three or more blocks.

A senior from East Chicago, Indiana, Jackson has extended her game offensively this season and she’s leading the Jayhawks with 14.8 points per game. She has scored in double figures 15 times in 18 games, with a career-high 24 points at Saint Mary’s on Nov. 26. Jackson has improved her scoring average from 8.9 points per game as a junior.

Last season, Jackson set a new single-season school record with 95 blocked shots and became the first-ever KU player selected to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. She helped the 2021-22 KU team set a new single-season school record with 5.7 blocks per game.

Jackson was picked Preseason All-Big 12 Honorable Mention coming into the 2022-23 season and was named the Big 12 Co-Player of the Week on Jan. 3, following the Jayhawks conference opener. With three blocks against Iowa State on Jan. 21, Jackson moved into a tie for third place on KU’s career blocks list with 149.

Kansas returns to action on Sunday, Jan. 29 for the first installment of the Dillons Sunflower Showdown in 2023. The game will be nationally televised on ESPNU, with tipoff set for 5 p.m. CT. To purchase tickets, visit KUAthletics.com or call 800-34-HAWKS.

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