The era of one of most talented freshman classes in Louisville women’s basketball history was launched Sunday in front of a crowd of 16,524 at the KFC Yum! Center. There they were, Asia Durr, Taja Cole, Sam Fuehring, Erin DeGrate and Brianna Jones, making their debuts in a 75-71 loss to California.
The player who will be remembered from this game, however, is Briahanna Jackson, a sophomore guard who transferred from the University of Central Florida between seasons. She was Freshman of the Year in Conference USA two years ago.
Jackson, with no qualms about wearing Shoni Schimmel’s old number (23), providing the offensive and defensive dynamism her young team needed to compete with California. She would lead all scorers with 21 points, grab three rebounds, block one shot and make three assists.
Playing aggressively, no fear, just loving the game, she was the player to take the crucial shots and the most likely to make them, hitting on nine of 19 of them, including two of five three-point attempts. She was a dynamo on defense, constantly disrupting UC’s ability to move the ball, with numerous deflections to go with a total of six steals.
Mariya Moore would contribute 20 points, including six three-pointers, while Asia Durr would collect six points in her first game. Cole, Fuehring, DeGrate and Jones would combine for four points.
Most concerning on a team that is among the tallest UofL women’s team ever is that California outrebounded the Cardinals 50-27. No contest. None on the boards. Jackson kept UofL in the game.
She’s a natural leader and will quickly become a fan favorite. Hopefully, her energy is contagious, providing some inspiration and motivation for a talented group of freshmen.