By Ben Everett | Sports Editor
Baylor women’s basketball came into the fall with two certainties: Junior forward Lauren Cox and senior center Kalani Brown would dominate the paint and sophomore guard Alexis Morris would run the point.
In September, however, Morris was suddenly dismissed from the team due to a violation of team rules. The Lady Bears had major uncertainty at point guard.
Fast forward four months and those worries have been eradicated. Graduate transfer guard Chloe Jackson stepped into the starting point guard role and has led Baylor to a 16-1 record, including a monumental upset win over then-No. 1 UConn on Jan. 3.
Jackson, who played shooting guard at LSU, leads the team with 6.7 assists per game while also chipping in 10.9 points. Baylor head coach Kim Mulkey said Jackson’s transition from shooting guard to point guard is impressive.
“Everything Chloe does with the ball in her hands impresses me,” Mulkey said. “That’s like taking a wide receiver and making them a quarterback in their fifth year of college. An athlete might run the ball, but you’ve got to have patterns, you’ve got to throw the ball on a dime, you’ve got to have presence in the pocket. She’s doing all of that stuff.”
On Wednesday, the Lady Bears hosted No. 20 Iowa State for a Top-25 showdown at the Ferrell Center. Jackson notched her first double-double in a Baylor uniform with 11 points and a career-high 11 assists. Jackson said she didn’t know about her stat line until after the game, but her assists can be attributed to her teammates making shots.
“I actually didn’t even know I had a double-double, so that’s cool,” Jackson said. “My teammates were hitting shots. I was hitting them early, then I missed a couple so I knew I had to start feeding my teammates. They helped me; they were hitting tonight.”
The Lady Bears defeated the Cyclones 84-69 for their 28th consecutive win over a Big 12 opponent. Baylor recorded 29 assists to Iowa State’s nine. Mulkey said Jackson’s unexpected ability as a passer and the rest of the team’s unselfishness make the Lady Bears tough to beat.
“Everything she does surprises me,” Mulkey said. “I’ve never coached her before. She’s never played that position before. She’s very comfortable. These two [Cox and Jackson] are leading the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio. Very unselfish team.”
The LSU transfer is stepping up in the biggest games. Jackson scored 19 points in a road win over No. 18 South Carolina. She recorded 11 points and nine assists in the Lady Bears’ upset of UConn. In her last three games, Jackson has averaged 9.7 assists per game. She said she is becoming more and more comfortable with her teammates, which results in a better offense and higher assist numbers.
“My teammates are running with me,” Jackson said. “I’m going to give them the ball. I know their strengths and weaknesses now. Just being able to find them in spots where they can hit it and they’ve been knocking them down. All credit to my teammates.”
Baylor looks to extend its win streak to nine when it faces Oklahoma at 2 p.m. Sunday in Norman, Okla.