🏀 Taiyanna Jackson Named Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson has been named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2024 Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year award. This is the second-consecutive year that Jackson has been a semifinalist for the award. The semifinalists were announced on Monday 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. Jackson was one of 15 players named to the Naismith Watch List on Jan. 24. The four finalists for the award will be announced on March 20, and the 2024 Women’s Naismith Defensive Player of the Year will be named on April 3.

A third-year member of the Kansas Women’s Basketball program, Jackson has left her mark on the record books at KU. She holds each of the top three single-season blocked shot totals in program history, setting the record with 95 in 2021-22 before surpassing it with 109 last season. This year, Jackson has 94 blocks, an average of 3.1 per game, which ranks third nationally. Jackson became KU’s all-time leader in blocks earlier this season, and she has extended that record to 298, which ranks fifth among active NCAA Division I players.

Jackson is second on the team with 12.6 points per game this season, while ranking second in the Big 12 with 9.8 rebounds per game and a field goal percentage of 58.7%. With 1,203 career points, Jackson is No. 23 on KU’s all-time scoring list, and in the Jayhawks’ Big 12 quarterfinal against Texas, she became the third player in school history to grab 1,000 career rebounds. Jackson is third in school history with 40 double-doubles and second with 49 career games with 10 or more rebounds.

The East Chicago, Indiana native is a three-time All-Big 12 and Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection while at Kansas. She is now a two-time Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalist and last season she was a candidate for the Lisa Leslie Center of the Year Award. Jackson was also named WBCA Honorable Mention All-America last season before being named the Most Valuable Player of the 2023 WNIT.

Naismith Women’s Defensive Player of the Year Semifinalists
Cameron Brink, F, Stanford
Jordyn Cambridge, G, Vanderbilt
Kamilla Cardoso, C, South Carolina
Hannah Hidalgo, G, Notre Dame
Taiyanna Jackson, C, Kansas
Elizabeth Kitley, C, Virginia Tech
Ayoka Lee, C, Kansas State
JJ Quinerly, G, West Virginia
Angel Reese, F, LSU
Celeste Taylor, G, Ohio State

Kansas Jayhawks