Bigs get the most attention, but Jackson is key to Baylor’s run.
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Chloe Jackson was having some trouble, but standing high on a tall steel ladder, with colorful confetti below her, all she could do was smile.
After winning the Regional Championship with a dominant 85-53 win over Iowa in the historic Greensboro Coliseum, Jackson and her teammates of the Baylor Lady Bears celebrated, dancing and cheering on the hardwood. After a plethora of photos and hugs and high-fives, it was her turn to climb the ladder to cut off a slice of the nylon that hung from the orange hoop.
Problem was, Jackson still isn’t accustomed to celebrating by taking a pair of scissors to a basketball net.
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“Tell me which one to cut,” she said between laughs atop the ladder. Teammate Didi Richards pointed her in the right direction.
“I’m speechless. It’s a blessing, honestly,” Jackson said after the victory. “A surreal feeling. It’s amazing.”
It’s been a long journey for Jackson to get to the Final Four, but she’s made it. It started on a high school court in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, it survived an injury and a season on the bench, took two detours and included a position change. But Jackson embraced all the adversity. It made her better.
And she didn’t just hitch a ride with the Lady Bears to the Final Four in Tampa. She put gas in the tank and helped steer the wheel.
Jackson came to Baylor as a shooting guard, but wound up playing the point and guiding the country’s seventh-best scoring offense to 35 wins, a Big 12 title and its first Final Four appearance since 2012. After her performance in the Elite Eight where she racked up 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals, she was named to the All-Region team. Standing on the floor, wearing a white Baylor Final Four hat as the announcement came, she was stunned.
A season at Baylor has been everything that Jackson could’ve wanted, and more.
“This is what I came here for,” Jackson said. “When I was in the recruiting process, when I was looking at the team where I could best fit and who kind of had the pieces… I was looking to complete the puzzle. The journey has exceeded my expectations. I never doubted the team for a second.
“This has always been my dream.”