When opponents see JaQuan Jackson, most aren’t intimidated or raise a brow to the Louisiana Tech freshman guard and her 5-foot-8 frame.
But once she has a basketball in her hands, no tape measure can show the impact the former Harker Heights standout has on the Lady Techsters.
Jackson has made a name for herself in only seven games this season, averaging 14.7 points and hauling in 23 total rebounds for the Lady Techsters (1-6).
“Everybody looks at me and says ‘She’s little, what can she do?’” Jackson said.
“I can play basketball.”
Jackson has already added an award on her college résumé after being named the Conference USA Freshman of the Week following her performances against Arkansas State and New Orleans.
She averaged 21.5 points, two rebounds, two steals and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 55 percent (17-31) from the field.
Jackson earned her first collegiate honor after scoring a career-high 23 points in a 91-68 loss to Arkansas State and then totaling 20 points in a 69-39 win over New Orleans. She became the first Louisiana Tech true freshman to record back-to-back 20-plus point performances in more than 20 years.
“It was a shocking moment,” Jackson said about the award. “I couldn’t really believe it, and right before game time, I was told. I just kind of went crazy.”
What makes her early season success more impressive was Jackson putting up 13 points against No. 12 South Carolina and 15 against Virginia from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The Lady Techsters host Louisiana-Lafayette tonight and have one last big non-conference test on Dec. 28 at No. 23 Texas A&M.
Jackson said she won’t soon forget her first night at the collegiate level when the Lady Techsters traveled to the Colonial Center to face South Carolina.
“I was nervous, I didn’t know what to expect,” Jackson said. “But after the ball was tipped, I said I’m here and there’s no turning back.”
Jackson joined Tech during a season of transition in which the school is playing its first season in CUSA after going 9-9 in the Western Athletic Conference last season and making it to the second round of the conference tournament.
Tech coach Teresa Weatherspoon has seen Jackson compete every day and was not surprised at the start she’s had because of her maturity.
“She knows the shot that she wants, knows how to get that shot and she’s not afraid to take any shot that is available,” Weatherspoon said.
“That is rare in freshmen. Those who are very confident in that ability will compete in that fashion.”
Weatherspoon added that she looks forward to having Jackson on the team for three more full seasons after this year and has seen Jackson bring a new effort and energy to the team.
Jackson came to Tech after a stellar career as a Lady Knight in which she helped Heights make two consecutive regional quarterfinals appearances, was named District 12-5A Freshman of of the Year, District 12-5A Co-MVP as a junior and District 8-5A MVP as a senior and was an ESPN Top 150 recruit.
For Jackson, the biggest difference between playing in the University Interscholastic League’s Class 5A and NCAA Division I is the preparation needed for every game, the speed of the game, depth of the opposition and the overall quality of play.
“I have to work 10 times harder in practice and then I will perform in the game,” Jackson said.
Jackson said that in addition to Tech, she was also recruited by Texas, Houston and UT-El Paso.
Contact Albert Alvarado at firstname.lastname@example.org