It’s no secret what unlocks the aggressiveness in Kelsey Jacobs.
When the Shockers play a big opponent, chances are Jacobs will follow through with a big performance. As a redshirt freshman in 2010, Jacobs showed her potential by grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds against a nationally-ranked LSU squad.
It’s a phenomenon that continued last week against No. 11 Oklahoma, a game WSU lost 89-70. Jacobs scored a career-high 15 points, including a 7-for-11 performance from the free-throw line.
“It’s almost like a mental thing with me,” Jacobs said. “When we play those bigger teams, I know I have to pick my game up in order to help my team. I feel like I have nothing to lose, so I just go out there and play my game.”
Jacobs has proven she can score against some of the best talent in the country, but coach Jody Adams wants to see if the junior can repeat that same type of performance on a consistent basis — regardless of the name on the opponent’s jersey.
The next chance comes Friday night when WSU (1-1) plays host to St. Joseph’s at Koch Arena in a consolation game in the Preseason WNIT.
“I can’t take one set, one rep off,” Jacobs said. “For me, it’s all mental. In order for us to win conference this season, I have to go in there and play like I did against OU.”
On a team with only two post players 6-foot-1 or taller, Jacobs’ consistency takes on added importance this season. Along with senior Michelle Price, Jacobs is the only other player on the team that has the height to disrupt the opposition’s post players.
That means staying out of foul trouble and rebounding are on the top of her priorities this season.
“We know we can count on Kelsey to step up in the big games,” Price said. “If one of our main players isn’t having a good game, Kelsey can be the one to step it up and fill that void.”
Last season Jacobs averaged 5.1 points and 3.0 rebounds, while making 20 starts and playing nearly 20 minutes a game. The opportunity to increase all of those numbers will be there this season, as Jacobs and Price will both play major minutes.
After proving she can do it against the most talented teams, Jacobs now wants to show she can do it on a nightly basis.
“I know I can score against 6-6 girls,” Jacobs said. “So if I can score on them, I know I can attack the rim against anyone. I just need to have the right mindset.”