By: Sammy Clough, Sports Editor
Highlighting athletic achievement throughout Furman’s
This week in Furman sports history Monday, Nov. 11, 1996, Jackie Carson (then Jackie Smith) played her first exhibition game for the Paladins women’s basketball team.
Carson is a legend in Furman women’s basketball history, and is now in her ninth season as head coach of the team.
Her storied career began this week in 1996 after the Paladins defeated the Fort Bragg Lady Dragons 90-71 in its first exhibition game of the season. Carson, a freshman at the time, achieved a team high 12 rebounds during that game on her way to what would become a dominant career.
Carson would go on to record the seventh most rebounds in Southern Conference history, one of many records she still holds, and the tenth most points in conference history. Finally, she also is the all-time SoCon leader in free throws made.
Carson and the Paladins would claim the regular season SoCon championship her freshman year in 1996, and in her senior season, she led Furman to its second NCAA tournament appearance in 2000. She was an All-SoCon player in her sophomore, junior and senior seasons including SoCon Player of the Year honors in both 1998 and 1999.
She is truly one of the most decorated Paladins ever, and still sits at second in all-time points and rebounds for Furman. In 1999 she was honored as Furman’s Edna Hartness Female Athlete of the Year.Carson’s number 22 is just the third retired number in Furman women’s basketball history, and hangs from the rafters in Timmons Arena.
Today, Carson coaches the next generation of Furman women’s basketball and is in her ninth season as the Paladin head coach. Already off to a good start, Carson and the Paladins claimed an exhibition victory on Thursday, Nov. 1 defeating UNC Aiken 60-41.
As the Paladins once again begin their season with a victory, one cannot help but look back to the beginning of Jackie Carson’s legendary Furman career 22 years ago, this week in Paladin sports history.