She’d flash down the court, her blonde hair almost a blur. The 5-foot-8-inch guard would come to a stop outside the three-point line, ball in hand, ready to shoot. But Jadda Buckley wouldn’t always pull the trigger. This year, that changes.
“We’ve got a lot of shooters,” head coach Bill Fennelly said. “We need more makers.”
Good news for Fennelly – Buckley is back and ready to take over the ISU offense.
Buckley made a splash in her first year for the Cyclones last season, starting all but three games and ranking third on the team in scoring en route to becoming a unanimous Big 12 All-Freshman Team selection. With the ISU women’s basketball team searching for an offensive identity this year, Buckley is taking a big step into the spotlight.
“Coach is always on me about hunting my shot this year,” Buckley said. “That’s going to be a huge aspect for me to embrace.”
Last season, Buckley was the only freshman in the nation to shoot 40 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point land and 87 percent on free throws. Through her efficiency in the shooting department, Buckley had an effective field-goal percentage of 53.2 to lead all Cyclones with at least 10 three-point attempts. Though that’s no small feat, Buckley and Fennelly agreed that she has room for improvement.
“A big thing for me, I think, is consistency throughout every game,” Buckley said. “I would have a few bad games last year, a few good games last year. Just having that overall consistency through each game is going to be big for me and for the team.”
Buckley’s role will expand beyond elite scorer, however, as she’ll be counted on to facilitate an ISU offense whose leading scorer from last year, Hallie Christofferson, now plays basketball in Austria. No worries, though, because Buckley also dished 101 assists last season – third most by an ISU freshman in team history.
Though her place within the team is changing, Buckley will do whatever it takes to get the most important stat of all – the “W.”
“I’m big into getting everybody on the scoreboard if I can, but at the end of the day, you have to do what you have to do in order to get the win,” Buckley said. “If that’s putting up 30 [points], then I’ll do that; if that’s putting up two [points] and dropping 10 assists, that’s what I have to do.”