Oct. 10, 2007
HOUSTON - Senior Tye Jackson (Houston, Texas/Westfield HS/Purdue) was named the Conference USA Women's Basketball Preseason Player of the Year, the league office announced Wednesday.
Jackson, a two-time First-Team All-League selection, also earned a spot on the Preaseason All-C-USA Team. Joining her on the squad is SMU's Janielle Dodds, UTEP's Jareica Hughes, Diamond Rogers from UAB and East Carolina's Jasmine Young.
"What an honor for a great player and person," head coach Joe Curl said. "Her abilities are absolutely tremendous. She's a special kid who has given her all for this basketball team the last couple of years."
Jackson is the nation's third-leading returning scorer after averaging 22.5 points per game last season. She ranks behind only Western Kentucky's Crystal Kelly (24.1) and Oklahoma's Courtney Paris (23.5). She missed UH's first six games last season with a knee injury, coming back to put together her second-straight First-Team All-C-USA season. She also led the team in assists, steals and blocked shots.
She has scored in double-figures in 22-straight games and has five 30-plus point games, including only the third 40-point game in school history. In the opening round of the 2007 C-USA Championship on March 1, Jackson tied a school record and set a C-USA mark with her 43-point performance in the Cougars' win over Marshall. Her single-game effort tied for second nationally last year with Paris, trailing only Drexel's Gabriela Marginean, who tallied 47 points against Northeastern on Feb. 22.
"It's a great honor for me," Jackson said. "I couldn't have achieved it without my teammates though. All of my success is a result of our team's hard work. I'm excited to get practice started and get the season underway."
The preseason coach's poll was also announced with Houston receiving a first-place vote but being ranked seventh out of 12 teams with 86 points.
Tulane, the 2007 C-USA Regular-Season Champions, took the top spot in the poll with three first place votes and 126 points. UTEP was ranked second (1/109), defending C-USA Tournament Champion East Carolina third (2/106), SMU fourth (2/103), UAB fifth (1/103) and Rice sixth (2/88). Southern Miss (0/73) is ranked behind UH, followed by Marshall (0/65), Tulsa (0/28), UCF (0/26) and Memphis (0/23).
"If anything, the poll motivates us," Curl said. "We would like to end up in the top spot here in the next three or four months. If our team can grow on a day-to-day basis and take care of business, we'll be in the hunt for a very successful season."
Jackson, Curl and Twiggy McIntyre (Sapulpa, Okla./Sapulpa HS/Kansas State) will travel to Memphis, Tenn., this Thursday to participate in the 2007 C-USA Basketball Media Day at the FedEx Forum.
Curl is scheduled to take the podium at 1:15 p.m. CDT to address the assembled media. The press conference will be streamed live online at www.ConferenceUSA.com. Jackson and McIntyre will participate in a community service project with other C-USA student-athletes before joining Curl at 4:45 p.m. for the C-USA Women's Media Slam Show that will air live on CSTV.
Houston takes the practice floor at 8 a.m., Saturday to begin final preparations for the 2007-08 campaign. Following a pair of exhibition games on Nov. 2 and Nov. 5, the Cougars open up the regular season against Texas Southern at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 9 at Hofheinz Pavilion. The game will lead into the UH men's team season opener at 8 p.m. against Morehead State.
Tickets for all home games are now on sale online at www.UHCougars.com or in person at the UH Athletics Ticket Office. Season ticket packages start at $50 with single-game tickets pricing starting at $5.