David S. Driver
"Providing my byline by your deadline"
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November 8, 2010
By David Driver
For the News & Messenger
Used with permission
The George Washington women’s basketball team had three players, two of them who are now upperclassmen, miss a large portion of last season with injuries.
But it was the absence of a true freshman, Danni Jackson that was just too much for head coach Mike Bozeman and his team to overcome.
“She is an additional coach on the floor. She brings that kind of experience,” said Bozeman, now in his third season. “Danni is just gifted. She gives us that X factor. We have that kind of (versatile) weapon with Danni on the floor. She handles the ball extremely well.”
She was among the top 100 point guards in her senior class at Forest Park when she arrived here in Foggy Bottom in 2009. But her promising freshman season ended in the fourth game of the season against nationally-ranked Michigan State when she sustained a broke left fibula at the 8:35 mark of the first half on Nov. 27, 2009 in Freeport, Bahamas.
“I think the most frustrating thing was that I could have helped the team if only I could play, and seeing the frustration on the team and that frustrated me, too,” said Jackson, 19, who helped lead Forest Park to four state playoff berths in Virginia. Jackson had 20 assists in just 103 minutes of action as a freshman, with 10 turnovers, before she got hurt. She averaged 8.8 points in the four games and is ready to pick up where she left off last year.
GW, an annual NCAA team for most of the past 20 years, struggled without the 5-foot-3 Jackson. The Colonials ended the year 6-22 overall and 3-11 in the Atlantic 10 Conference.
Ivy Abiona, a redshirt senior forward, said the injury to Jackson last season was a big blow. “We were getting a flow with the team,” said Abiona, who averaged 5.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 20.7 minutes per contest during the 2008-09 season but then missed all of last season with an injury.
Junior forward/guard Tara Booker, who missed the last 20 games last season with knee pain, said of the loss of Jackson: “It was definitely a damper. It dampened our spirits.”
The Colonials open up the season Nov. 13 against Green Bay in the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis. The non-conference schedule includes a home game Dec. 5 against George Mason, which beat GW by 10 points last season in Fairfax.
“It has been going well,” Jackson said. “We have been running something new every day. We are on a pace of where we want to go. We don’t have to re-learn things. It is more of getting back to game shape and getting back to what what we are used to.”
Jackson averaged 23.5 points per game as a senior at Forest Park and ended her career with 1,797 points. She picked GW over Wake Forest, Radford, Temple, South Florida and Middle Tennessee. Jackson spent part of last summer at home in Virginia but was also on the GW campus. She is majoring in business administration with a concentration in sports management.
“I am really looking forward to playing,” Jackson said. “I feel we will make the Atlantic 10 tournament and go far in the A-10 tourney. We have high expectations for each other. Everyone has improved so much.”