MIDWEST CITY — Duke women’s basketball coach Joanne McCallie knew the future looked bright when she won the recruiting battle for Midwest City star Richa Jackson. What she didn’t know is that Jackson would help out the Blue Devils’ program in the present.
Midwest City’s 6-foot-1 multi-faceted player salvaged a recruiting trip for the Blue Devils recently. Earlier this season, Duke coaches paid a visit to Oklahoma to watch a few players, one of whom was Southmoore sophomore standout Sidney Cooke. The problem was, Cooke didn’t play in that Jan. 12 game. Fortunately, for Duke, but unfortunately for Southmoore, the opponent that night was Class 6A No. 1 Midwest City. "They got to see Richa play again,” said Midwest City coach Art Bode. "So it wasn’t a wasted trip.” Not that they needed to see any more. Jackson had already signed with the Blue Devils in November. But Jackson put on a show anyway, scoring 18 points and leading all scorers in a 55-22 runaway. This past Friday, though, her future college coaches weren’t in the stands, Jackson repeated the performance, leading the Bombers to a 59-35 triumph at No. 5 Norman North. But it wasn’t her game-high 18 points that spurred Midwest City to the win. It was her defense. "Defensive intensity is what turned the game around in the third quarter,” said Bode. Jackson forced six turnovers in the game and was the ringleader of the 26-7 third-period run. "We know defense can change games just as fast or faster than our offense,” Jackson said.