She may be hailed as the best female basketball player in the world, but on this day an American called Taj McWilliams-Franklin had
A WNBA All-Star and 8 year veteran of the American league, McWilliams-Franklin scored 37 points to lead the Shinhan Bank S-Birds to victory over Jackson’s team Samsung Bichumi in the fifth and final Grand Final game.
Jackson scored a valiant 22 points in the 69-62 loss.
Shinhan Bank opened the game on a 4-0 run before Jackson got Samsung Bichumi on the scoreboard.
Her team led 13-12 mid way through the opening period before the S-Birds went on a 7-0 run to the delight of their home crowd.
After one quarter Shinhan Bank led 19-15, with 10 of those coming from McWilliams-Franklin.
The S-Birds established a 6 point lead in the second period before a 15-4 run put Samsung Bichumi ahead by one point, but Shinhan Bank finished the half the stronger side and led at the main break, 35-32.
By half time, McWilliams Franklin had scored 18 points, as had Samsung forward Beon Yeon-Ha, while Jackson had 10 points.
Shinhan Bank opened the second half on an 8-0 run before Jackson dropped a long bomb to end the drought, but the S-Birds kept pushing to consolidate their double digit lead.
McWilliams-Franklin was on fire in the third quarter, scoring 15 of her team’s 22 points.
The margin ballooned to 16 points in the fourth quarter but Samsung Bichumi would not go lightly.
Jackson and Beon Yeon-Ha, who finished with a team high 25 points, cut the margin to 8 points with 3:41 remaining.
The home crowd was nervous when Jackson hit two free throws to cut the lead to 5 points with 1:54 remaining, but they were in raptures soon after when the clock became Samsung Bichumi’s worst enemy.
Time expired with Samsung Bichumi trailing by 7 points.
Although the Championship trophy remains with the S-Birds, the match ended a very successful first season in Korea for Jackson, who averaged a league record 30.2 points per game.
She has a further two years remaining on her Samsung Bichumi contract.