🏀 Jayhawks Have Four Receive All-Big 12 Recognition

IRVING, Texas – The Kansas Jayhawks had four players recognized on the 2023-24 All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Team, which was announced Tuesday by the conference office. Taiyanna Jackson and S’Mya Nichols both earned a spot on the All-Big 12 First Team, while Zakiyah Franklin and Holly Kersgieter received honorable mention.

Additionally, Jackson earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team for the third-straight season, while Nichols was a unanimous selection to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Now a three-time selection, Jackson remains the only Kansas player to be named to the All-Defensive Team, which was first awarded in 2006. Nichols is the fifth Jayhawk named to the All-Freshman Team and first since 2021.

This is the second-consecutive season in which Kansas has had two players earn All-Big 12 First Team honors. It is also the fourth time in league history that KU has had four or more players earn All-Big 12 recognition and the first since 2015.

The All-Big 12 honors were chosen by a vote of the league’s head coaches, who were not allowed to vote for their own student-athletes.

"We are proud of our players’ accomplishments, and we appreciate the Big 12 coaches for recognizing their contributions. Prior to last season, our program had never had two players selected to the All-Big 12 First Team in the same year, and now our players have earned such recognition twice. That’s a testament to our players and the impact they’ve had on elevating our program."

Kansas Coach Brandon Schneider
Kansas Jayhawks

Jackson (East Chicago, Ind.) receives All-Big 12 honors for the third-straight season, repeating as a member of the All-Big 12 First Team, while earning a three-peat on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. She is on pace to average a double-double for the second-consecutive season, entering the postseason as KU’s second-leading scorer at 13.0 points per game, while ranking second in the Big 12 with 10.1 rebounds per game. Jackson is again at the top of the league in blocked shots with 92, which is good for an average of 3.3 per game, ranking No. 2 nationally, and she’s No. 2 in the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 58.7 percent. Jackson’s blocked shot total is the No. 3 in school history for a single season, trailing her marks of 109 (2022-23) and 95 (2021-22) from the previous two seasons.

In three seasons at Kansas, Jackson has been a difference maker in the paint. She set the school record for career blocked shots, entering the Big 12 Championship with 296, which ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I players. She is third in career rebounds at Kansas with 989, needing 11 to become just the third player in program history with 1,000, and she has climbed to No. 24 on KU’s all-time scoring list with 1,189 career points. Jackson has recorded 13 double-doubles this season, which has moved her to second in school history with 40 for her career, and she’s No. 2 in school history with 49 career games with 10 or more rebounds.

A two-time Big 12 Player of the Week this season, including on Monday, Jackson is a four-time Player of the Week in her career, matching Danielle McCray and Chelsea Gardner for the most by a Kansas player in conference history. This season, Jackson was named to watch lists for the Wooden Award, Naismith Player of the Year and Lisa Leslie Award prior to the season, and she earned a spot on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List at midseason for the second-consecutive year.

Kansas Jayhawks

Nichols (Overland Park, Kan.) earns her first All-Big 12 honor following a standout freshman season in Lawrence. The former five-star prospect has been KU’s most consistent player, scoring in double figures 25 times in 29 games, including seven games of 20 or more points. Most recently, Nichols scored a career-high 29 points as she led the Jayhawks past regular-season conference champion No. 20 Oklahoma, 83-74, in the season finale.

For the year, Nichols leads the Jayhawks in scoring with 438 points, an average of 15.1 per game, and in assists with 78. Her scoring totals are No. 3 in school history by a freshman and she has scored more points than any freshman at Kansas since 1979. Nichols is shooting 47.1 percent (138-293) from the field and 39.7 percent (27-68) from three-point range, while leading the Jayhawks by shooting 81.3 percent (135-166) from the free throw line. Her 135 made free throws rank No. 9 at Kansas for a single season.

Nichols is a two-time Big 12 Freshman of the Week this season, earning the honor on Dec. 11, 2023, and Jan. 15, 2024. Nichols is now the third Jayhawk to earn multiple Freshman of the Week awards, joining Carolyn Davis (2009-10) and Ioanna Chatzileonti (2020-21), and the fifth player to be named to the Big 12 All-Freshman Team, joining Davis (2010), Lauren Aldridge (2015), Zakiyah Franklin (2020) and Chatzileonti (2021).

Kansas Jayhawks

Franklin (Lakeland, Fla.) picks up the fourth All-Big 12 honor of her career after earning All-Big 12 First Team in 2023, Honorable Mention in 2022 and the All-Freshman Team in 2020. This season, she is fourth on the team with 11.4 points per game, while ranking third with 64 assists and fourth with 29 steals.

Franklin’s name is listed in many places across KU’s record book. Early in her super-senior season, Franklin surpassed Kansas women’s basketball’s all-time records for games played and minutes played. She enters the postseason having appeared in 150 games, while playing 4,955 minutes as a Jayhawk. Additionally, Franklin ranks No. 6 in school history for scoring (1,866 points), No. 4 in assists (495) and No. 5 in free throws made (401). Last season, Franklin set single-season records for three-point field goal percentage (49.5 percent) and free throw percentage (87.8 percent). Her current career free throw rate of 83.2 percent ranks No. 2 in school history.

Kersgieter (Sand Springs, Okla.) is an All-Big 12 selection for the fourth-straight season after previously earning Honorable Mention in 2021 and 2023, and an All-Big 12 First Team selection in 2022. She is third on the team in scoring at 11.6 points per game and shooting 40.1 percent from three-point range, hitting a team-high 55-of-137 attempts from long range. Kersgieter is also second on the team in rebounding, averaging 4.9 boards per game, and steals with 37, while ranking fourth on the team with 44 assists.

Kersgieter became KU’s all-time leader in three-point field goals made on Jan. 6 and has since extended that record to 263 made in her career. She’s also No. 5 on the Jayhawks’ all-time scoring list with 1,883 career points. She trails only Franklin in KU history for games played and minutes played, and Kersgieter ranks No. 8 in program history with 386 free throws made. Kersgieter has twice been named an Academic All-Big 12 selection, and she was named the recipient of the 2022-23 Marlene Mawson Exemplary Woman Student-Athlete Award, which recognizes a Kansas student-athlete for exemplary performance on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

Kansas is one of three teams with two players named to the All-Big 12 First Team, joining Kansas State and regular season champion Oklahoma. With four players on the team, Kansas is tied with Baylor and Oklahoma for the second-most All-Big 12 selections, trailing only Texas with five.

Kansas (18-11, 11-7 Big 12) is the No. 7 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship and the Jayhawks will face No. 10 seed BYU in the second round at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. That game will be played on Friday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. CT and be broadcast on Big 12 NOW on ESPN+.

2023-24 All-Big 12 Women’s Basketball Team
(As selected by conference coaches; *unanimous selection)

Co-Player of the Year: Madison Booker, Texas
Co-Player of the Year:
 Skylar Vann, Oklahoma
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Quinerly, West Virginia
Freshman of the Year: Madison Booker, Texas
Newcomer of the Year: Peyton Verhulst, Oklahoma
Sixth Player Award: DeYona Gaston, Texas
Coach of the Year: Jennie Baranczyk, Oklahoma

All-Big 12 First Team
Lauren Gustin, BYU
Audi Crooks, Iowa State*
Taiyanna Jackson, Kansas
S’Mya Nichols, Kansas

Ayoka Lee, Kansas State*
Serena Sundell, Kansas State
Skylar Vann, Oklahoma*
Payton Verhulst, Oklahoma
Madison Booker, Texas*
JJ Quinerly, West Virginia

All-Big 12 Second Team
Sarah Andrews, Baylor
Kaitlin Peterson, UCF
Madison Conner, TCU
Aaliyah Moore, Texas
Jordan Harrison, West Virginia

All-Big 12 Honorable Mention:
Aijha Blackwell (Baylor), Dre’Una Edwards (Baylor), Darianna Littlepage-Buggs (Baylor), Kailey Woolston (BYU), Jillian Hayes (Cincinnati), Laila Blair (Houston), Addy Brown (Iowa State), Zakiyah Franklin (Kansas), Holly Kersgieter (Kansas), Gabby Gregory (Kansas State), Nevaeh Tot (Oklahoma), Sahara Williams (Oklahoma), Anna Gret Asi (Oklahoma State), Sedona Prince (TCU), Shaylee Gonzales (Texas), Shay Holle (Texas), Taylor Jones (Texas), Bailey Maupin (Texas Tech), Jasmine Shavers (Texas Tech)

Big 12 All-Defensive Team
Taiyanna Jackson, Kansas
Ayoka Lee, Kansas State
Shay Holle, Texas
Jordan Harrison, West Virginia
JJ Quinerly, West Virginia

Big 12 All-Freshman Team
Addy Brown, Iowa State
Audi Crooks, Iowa State*
S’Mya Nichols, Kansas*
Stailee Heard, Oklahoma State
Madison Booker, Texas*