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Battling through change


IU forward Amber Jackson posts up during IU’s 64-61 win against Wisconsin on Thursday evening at Assembly Hall. Jackson had six points in the game. James Brosher Buy Photos

She played in front of her mother.

She didn’t disappoint Carolyn Jackson either, as she put up 50 points in two games to lead IU to the Hilton Concord Classic championship in Moraga, Calif. She was named MVP of the tournament.

Jackson was born on a naval base in Yokosuka, Japan, grew up in California and began her collegiate career at San Jose State. Jackson excelled at San Jose State and led the Western Athletic Conference in points (17.6) and rebounds (9.8) in her sophomore season. Jackson also had the second-best field goal percentage in Division I in 2005.

After a coaching change, however, Jackson decided to transfer. IU coach Felisha Legette-Jack got a call from a San Jose State assistant coach about Jackson.

“We were excited about what she could bring athletically, but one thing we believe is character first, academics second and then basketball,” Legette-Jack said. “We knew she was a very strong student, and we wanted to make sure her character would blend into our team, and it did perfectly.”

Joining a new group of players was a difficult process for Jackson.

“I had to get back into the flow of things, a different team, a different program, a different coach, a different conference,” Jackson said. “Definitely it’s been a huge adjustment for me, but I wouldn’t change it.”

This season Jackson is part of a senior class that hopes to advance to the NCAA tournament.

Legette-Jack said she believes the program is lucky to have Jackson.

“I think Amber is probably one of the best post players in the country,” Legette-Jack said. “I honestly do. The things that she can do with her size in small quarters are just unbelievable.”

Playing alongside Jackson in the post is senior forward Whitney Thomas, whom she calls her partner in crime.

Jackson said she has never played with anyone with as much passion as Thomas, and added Thomas’ hard work ethic motivates her.

Thomas said the impact Jackson brings to the team is enormous.

“She has been a huge presence inside and has opened up things for the guards and for me as well,” Thomas said. “Every team that we play has to respect her because she can score and do a lot of great things.”

Off the basketball court Jackson would like to pursue a master’s degree in athletic administration, but she said she hopes her basketball days aren’t over. Jackson’s sister Angela played for the Washington Mystics in the WNBA in 1998.

“I definitely would like to play afterwards and become the best player I can,” she said. “I have aspirations to be a professional basketball player.”

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